Chester Henderson Cone


Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2007



Longtime Alaskan and Kenai resident Chester Henderson Cone died Sunday, Dec. 16, 2007, at home. He was 92.

A viewing will be held from 1:30 to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 19, at the United Methodist Church of the New Covenant in Kenai. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the church. Burial will follow at the Spruce Grove Memorial Park in Kasilof.

Mr. Cone was born July 20, 1915, in Bonham, Texas, to Robert R. and Willie M. Cone. The family moved to Denver a few years later. He started his first business enterprise as a news boy.

After the death of his parents, he and his two sisters went to Pea Ridge, Ark., to live with their grandparents. Their grandmother told stories of the Civil War battles at Pea Ridge and Elk Horn Tavern, which Mr. Cone later enjoyed sharing with friends and neighbors.

"His love of fishing and hunting lured Chester to Alaska. In 1948, he joined his brother-in-law and sister, Quentin and Nancy Crabaugh, above the Arctic Circle at Shungnak, to teach school for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. While there, he enjoyed the adventure of herding and protecting the reindeer herd from the huge migrating herds of caribou as they passed through the area. The fishing and waterfowl hunting was unlimited," his family said.

In 1950, Mr. Cone and the Crabaughs moved to the peninsula, where Mr. Cone worked for four years at Kenai Packers and then in the construction of Wildwood Station. In 1957, he became the manager of the ready-mix plant, owned by Alaska Aggregate of Anchorage. The company cemented oil wells in Swanson River and furnished explosives for the oil field. When Alegro closed the Kenai plant in 1963, He and James G. "Bud" Dye, obtained one of the first small business loans in the area and opened Better Concrete Products.

In September 1950, he married Mavis Stepp of Whittier, Calif. Through the years, the couple, along with their children, Tamara and Curtis, were involved in various business and real estate development enterprises.

Mr. Cone was active in the incorporation of the city of Kenai, where he served for seven years as a councilman and sat on various commissions. He was involved in the drafting of the Kenai city charter. He also was a volunteer fireman, a member of the Elks Club and the Church of the New Covenant. He was an avid fan and enjoyed attending the Peninsula Oilers' games. His life long hobby was gardening.

Mr. Cone was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Martha Cone and Nancy Crabaugh; daughter, Christy Dawn; and son, Curtis Shane Cone.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Mavis Cone of Kenai; daughter, Tamara Cone; nephew Charles Crabaugh and his wife, Roberta; nieces, Virgie Hamert, Wendie Fallert and Bonnie Pathier of Tierton, and Betty Mitchell of Lodi, Calif.; grandnephew, Ed Crabaugh; and grandniece, Elaine Phillip and her family of Anchorage.

Arrangements were made by Peninsula Memorial Chapel in Kenai.

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