Cover photo for Willie D. Chidester's Obituary
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1950 Willie 2024

Willie D. Chidester

August 19, 1950 — February 18, 2024

Harlingen, Texas

WILLIE D. CHIDESTER passed away on  February 18.  He was born on August 19, 1950, to Adella Chidester and Donald “Hap” Chidester in Ottumwa, Iowa.  He had one adopted sister, Zetta Thomae , of San Benito, Texas.

He spent his childhood in Blakesburg, Iowa, where he spent time in his mother’s beauty shop and his father’s salvage yard.  He was entertained by the ladies getting their hair done when he as small, because he often went to work with his mother.  He worked in the salvage yard with his father, so he could be seen driving old cars around town, driving the wrecker, and even a semi when he was only 10 because his dad told him to take it to his uncle a few blocks away.  Willie said he got concerned when he had to drive it around a corner, but he got it delivered safely.

Willie’s mother was a sought-after lady for her beautiful wedding cakes which Willie often help deliver.  One snowy, icy day a very elaborate cake had to be delivered, so Willie had to help.  They got the cake situated in the car, mostly in the back seat and on the floor.  Willie had a basketball game that evening, so he decided to load his gym bag into the car.  He forgot the cake was in the back and he threw his gym bag in the back and mashed the top layer with the bride and groom on it.  His mother calmly said, “Bring it back inside and I’ll repair it the best I can.”  She gently placed some cake scraps on top, glued it all together with frosting, and when she was satisfied with it, it was all delivered with nobody ever knowing the difference.

Willie and his wife, Patricia, attended a small farming community school In Blakesburg.  Patricia’s mother was a teacher there, and she taught Willie in the 4th grade.  While he was in high school, he excelled at basketball, baseball, and track.  He was on the Student Council, Library Board, was his call president, and he often supplied parts from the salvage yard to the auto body and auto shop classes.  One year they provided a whole car for the students to dismantle and put back together.  During the year some parts were lost, but they got spare parts and eventually got it to run.

He attended college at Iowa Central where he was awarded a full basketball scholarship.  He had been selected as a member of the Iowa all-state team in high school.  He was on the Dean’s List each semester and was a member of the Honor Society.

He transferred to Northeast Missouri State the next year where he was invited to join Phi Beta Kappa.

His father had made a trip to visit his sister in San Benito, and while there he purchased the historical old Stonewall Jackson Hotel.  It wasn’t long until he decided he needed help, so he asked Willie to come to Texas and help.  They had lots of funny and sometimes trying experiences in the old place.  While working there, he met Al White, CPA and became a partner in the firm of Welch, White, Kennedy, Hales and Bradford with offices in Brownsville and Weslaco.  Soon after All and Willie opened an office in Harlingen.

On New Year’s Eve in 1971, Willie flew to Iowa to marry Patricia.  She stayed in Missouri to complete her college for the next year.  Willie often joked that they never had a fight during their first year of marriage.  Of course, they were 1300 miles apart.

While he was attending Pan American University, he was given the honor of becoming the Outstanding Accounting Student.  He graduated in 1970 Magna Cum Laude.

In 1974 Willie met some young men who played city league basketball.  When they saw his height and talent, it didn’t take long for them to ask him to join their team.  They played in many games, several tournaments, and won so many trophies that is became an issue to store them.  Eventually the sons of the men started playing on the team.  A close enduring friendship resulted.

His son Robert Joseph was born at Dolly Vinsant Hospital in 1975, and in 1976 another baby boy, Nathan Alan was born.  Willie’s only grandchild, Tim Donald Chidester was born in 2003.  Tim is currently attending UTRGV in Brownsville.

Willie is preceded in death by his son Nathan in 2003, parents, Adella and Donald “Hap” Chidester, his mother and father-in-law, Reva and Verdean Moor, and his sister, Zetta Thomae.

The Chidester family will receive friends and relatives on Saturday, February 24, 2024 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Buck Ashcraft San Benito Funeral Home. A time of sharing remembrances by family, friends, and acquaintances will begin at 4:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

Honorary pallbearers will be Mike Moore, Lee Swan, Ernie Garcia, Jim Rose, Jessie Garza, Bob Chisman, Bob Gillen Russell Totora, Charles Kennedy, Larry Elliff, Randy Chidester, and Richard Smith.

In lieu of flowers, please make memorial contributions in honor of Willie to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place,  Memphis, TN 38105 or a charity of choice.

Willie was a good provider, good life coach, wonderful husband and father, and very proud grandfather, and a well-respected CPA in the Harlingen area.  He will be missed.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Willie D. Chidester, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Visitation

Saturday, February 24, 2024

3:00 - 5:00 pm (Central time)

Buck Ashcraft San Benito Funeral Home

1400 West Business 77, San Benito, TX 78586

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

A Time of Sharing Memories

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Starts at 4:00 pm (Central time)

Buck Ashcraft San Benito Funeral Home

1400 West Business 77, San Benito, TX 78586

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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