Chester, Robert “Bob” Colonel, Jr.
Robert “Bob” Colonel Chester, Jr.
Robert “Bob” Colonel Chester, Jr.’s life was a study in unlikely contrasts. With a career as a special agent for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) of the U.S. Department of Justice, Robert often took on dangerous undercover assignments, but during his spare time he enjoyed spending time with his family and helping many young people build strong character and become good citizens through athletic competition.
Robert was a man with an indomitable personality and strong will, a superior intellect, heart of gold, no-nonsense style, and a wicked sense of humor.
He was born on January 8, 1957, in the Richmond Heights neighborhood of Miami, Florida. He was the fifth of seven children of Robert C. Chester, Sr., and Mamie E. P. Reid Chester.
Robert’s athleticism and love of sports led him into youth football at an early age, and became a standout player at Miami Killian High School where he graduated in 1975. Upon graduation, Robert won an athletic scholarship from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, MO, and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice (1979), and a Master of Arts Degree (1981).
After 29 years of service, Robert retired from the DEA in 2012 with many commendations for his work. Before retiring from the DEA in 2012, Robert handled several prestigious assignments as a liaison for the United States on multinational drug enforcement operations, including a posting in Brasilia, Brazil.
When he wasn’t working, Robert coached local select girls’ softball teams, and boys’ middle and high school football in Chattanooga. Although he helped prepare many athletes for higher levels of competition (including his children) his focus was on character-building and establishing lifelong bonds with his former players and their families. He created the Chattanooga Sports Academy which hosted sporting activities/fitness training and provided academic tutoring for the Chattanooga Community.
Robert was a committed follower of Jesus Christ, co-founder and devoted member, trustee, and administrator of Resurrected Baptist Church, He started a Summer Youth Camp at Resurrected Baptist Church to help neighborhood families by giving the children a safe place to have fun. He was a biblical scholar who walked in his faith.
Although Robert made an indelible and lasting impact in law enforcement, and on many of the youth in his extended community, nothing was more important to him than his family.
He met Yvonne Henry in 1978 while they were students at Lincoln University and the two were married in 1989. After living in Charleston, SC, and Brazil, they settled in Chattanooga in 1994. He was the consummate husband and father who never allowed the demands of his work to intrude in his family life. He encouraged and supported Yvonne’s entrepreneurial spirit as they worked as a team to raise the children.
Robert instilled in his family a strong drive to push through setbacks, to be strong, and always keep moving forward.
Robert passed away on December 7, 2022, at Chattanooga Memorial Hospital following a long illness. He was 65.
Robert was preceded in death by his parents, Robert C. Chester, Jr. and Mamie E.P. Reid Chester, along with his brothers, Philemon T. Reid (Vancouver, WA), Louis Chester (Suisun City, CA), Cedric Lee Chester (Las Vegas, NV); and sister, Elena P. Chester (Miami, FL).
He is survived by his wife, Yvonne “Bonnie” Henry Chester, and two daughters, Kamri Busby (Andre), Chattanooga, TN and Tanisha Jackson, Miami, FL; two sons, Mark A. White, Jr., Atlanta and Robert C. Chester III (Rhonda), Homestead, FL; six grandchildren, Barry Clark, Jada White, Brianna Clark, Jordan Franklin, Londyn Busby and Gavin Chester; and one great grandchild, Barry Leon Clark III.
Robert is also survived by his brother, Bobby “Bob” T. Reid (Redeemer), Fayetteville, GA; sister, Mamie Elaine Horne (Albert), Hampton, GA; uncle, Rev. W.J. Reid (Martha), Covington, GA; sisters in law, Pastor Winifred Ashby (Pastor Eric Ashby), Kansas City, MO, Janice Chester, Las Vegas, NV and Linda Chester, Suisun, CA; brothers in law, Algie Neal, ,Las Vegas, NV, and Lewis C. Henry III Chicago, IL; several nieces, nephews and cousins; his loving mother in law, Dorothy “Lady D” Neal Henry; god parents, John and Diane Lawrence; and godchildren, Jeffery Bowens, Jr., Chris Newby, Christopher Goines, Tia Collins, and Stephen Daniel Turman; and two “fur babies”, Robert’s favorite, Lil Caesar, a Pit Bull, and Charlie, a Maltipoo, who was always a thorn in Robert’s side.
The family would like to extend special thanks to CHI Memorial Hospital Coronary Care Critical Care Unit’s doctors and nurses, the Memorial Wound Care Team, Vascular Institute and to Amanda Blevins, FNP for the kind and loving care given throughout Bob’s illness.
Public viewing will be held from 9-10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 17, at Resurrected Baptist Church, 2230 East 18th Street, followed by a 10 a.m. funeral service.
Interment will be in Hamilton Memorial Gardens, Highway 153.
Arrangements are by John P. Franklin Funeral Home, 1101 Dodds Ave., 423 622-9995.