Granton's 2013 Honored Citizen

Donald "Chester" Oldham


Donald Chester Oldham

 Granton’s Honored Citizen for 2013, Donald “Chester” Oldham

will lead the 63rd Granton Fall Festival Parade

 Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013.

(Contributed Photo)

The Granton Rotary club is pleased to announce Donald “Chester” Oldham as the 2013 Granton Fall Festival Honored Citizen.  Chester’s nomination was submitted by his daughter, Jessica Frank.

Chester grew up just outside o Neillsville and graduated from Neillsville High School.  He has three daughters: Sara (Andy) Dean, Jessica (Lance) Frank and Michelle (Dwayne) Bandt.  He also has four granddaughters.

Chester moved to Granton in 1976. There, he began to raise his family and become part of the community.  In 1984, Chester helped fight a devastating fire in Granton - as a civilian!  Since that fire, Chester has been a member of the Granton Volunteer Fire Department.  In April of 1987 or 1988, Chester was nominated as fire chief by his peers and has been the fire chief ever since. Chester said that everyone has a job at a fire scene.  His job is to help direct and maintain control of the sight. The firefighters work as a team.  When discussing fires and being thanked for all of his (and the department’s) hard work, Chester remains humble and says, “It’s just what we do."

As Chester’s girls were growing up, he realized there needed to be something for them to do.  So in 1987, Chester and his wife and Chris and Kari Knoff started the Granton Little League program.  The first year, there were only enough children for two teams.  During the second year, there were enough children for four teams. By the third and fourth years of the program, there were many more students, so it was decided to divide the students by ages - thus beginning the Granton Pee Wee League. Chester stayed with the Pee Wee/Little League program until 2006.  Thanks to Chester’s time and dedication in starting the program, it continues on today. Even more rewarding is his granddaughters are part of the program their grandfather started all those years ago!

Chester has been and remains very involved with his family.  Jessica states, “My dad has done it all.  From chaperoning high school dances for us to driving a group of us down and back to Chicago for our trip to Mexico; he has done it all!"

Chester recalls the trip to Chicago with a big smile on his face.  “I had never been to a big city like Chicago, much less an airport.  I followed the signs, but never saw a place where I could drop the kids off.  It said “No Loading/Unloading Zone” - THREE TIMES, I drove in a circle until I finally decided to just pull over in that zone and drop them off.”  Laughing, he recalls no one came out and said anything, so it all turned out alright!

In Chester’s free time, he enjoys bow and rifle hunting.  His weekends are spent at the family farm.  He says he enjoys being with family and working outdoors.  For years, the family would plant pumpkin or squash and donate them to area nursing homes, the elderly, churches, etc. for fall decorations.  One year, the family decided to tap some trees for maple syrup, “just for the fun.”  The “fun” peaked at tapping 1,400 trees one year. For a few years, the family saved the syrup money they earned and took a trip out west to go hunting for white tail and mule deer.  He said it was a great time!  They go out west now, to hunt prairie dogs, which Chester said is the best!

s you can see, Chester has been a very involved community member.  His daughter, Jessica, sums it up the best.  “For the last 37 years, he has been an essential part of the [Granton] community.”  Chester’s contributions to the Granton community are still going strong, leaving a legacy.

As Granton’s 2013 Honored Citizen, Chester Oldham will lead the 63rd Granton Fall Festival Parade Sunday, Sept. 8, accompanied by his daughters.  What a well-deserved honor for such a great man.



From the Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

September 4, 2013, Page 4

Transcribed by Dolores Mohr Kenyon,  September 9, 2013

Web page by James W. Sternitzky PhD, September 11, 2013

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