Chester Owen Mishler was born October 9, 1927, the sixth child of Ola David and Edith Christine Barker Mishler at home in rural Cherryvale, Kansas. He went to his heavenly home on May 12, 2023, at the age of 95 years, 7 months and 3 days.
Chester grew up in the Cherryvale area and learned farming and helped with the dairy his family ran and attended school at Racob, Harmony, and Cherryvale high school graduating in 1947. He had rheumatic fever and other situations that put him back 2 years in school. Chester married Bonita Marie McGuire on February 4, 1949. They were introduced to each other by Chester’s friend Gerald McGuire, who happened to be Bonita’s brother 2 years younger than her. Chester always said the day they got married Bonita was the boss because she was 15 days older.
Chester and Bonita had a farm north of Cherryvale and started their family there. Later at the house in town where the oldest 3 children started school. Chester also worked for the Cherryvale township learning the road equipment and loved the big machines. They moved to Wichita for a few weeks then they moved to Harper, Kansas where he worked at a dairy for about 6 months. The Mishler’s moved to Ashland on September 28, 1958, to work for Cleo Bliss Plumbing, a job he was told about by friend D. L. Walker from Cherryvale who was pastor at the First Baptist Church of Ashland at the time. They also added their youngest child to the family in 1960.
Chester left the job with Bliss Plumbing for a job with Al Seidel Service and then in May 1964 the Mishler’s bought the plumbing side of Seidel’s business and opened Mishler’s Service Center in the building where the current bus barn is. In 1967 they moved next door east to the current location. Chester took refrigeration courses driving back and forth to Dodge City many nites to get certification and be able to work on the equipment. This added to the services he could provide in his business. Plumbing, heating and air conditioning, electric and refrigeration. They also sold and serviced appliances and televisions.
Chester served as deacon and trustee for the First Baptist Church in Ashland and on the city council. He joined the Odd Fellows lodge in 1963 which was the first step into the Masonic Lodge of Ashland and served as master at one time and a lifetime member of the Kansas Masonic Lodge.
Chester enjoyed going camping first in a family size tent and then in a camper that he built with friends Merle Pike and Mutt Stone. Bonita always said it was not a vacation for her as she had to load and unload provisions and still cook when they were camping. Chester loved to fish but was not known to really catch much. When up at the Clark County State Lake they would go hiking a lot and could be seen up there many weekends, just to be out of town and away from the phone. Other hobbies included wood working: making rocking chairs, rocking horses, cradles, hand pump scooter, truck for kids to peddle, a picnic table that would fold into a bench, and helping to update wooden chairs. He did make himself a wallet and check covers from leather which he also enjoyed. The last 20 years he enjoyed reading books but only if in his NOOK reader, and several magazines. We cannot forget his jigsaw puzzles that had become an obsession in the last 15 years. He worked on them at the senior center and would glue and frame them when done –at first even if it was only because he thought they were so pretty. If someone saw one that was being worked on, he would get it ready for them and the donation went to the senior center. He was very particular about the puzzles, had to do the frame first---or most of it, no pieces in the middle unless was in area where they were to attach and if you left the table be sure there were no pieces sticking to arms, clothes or had been swept off the table. He also got very upset if someone ‘forced’ a piece in the wrong place because they thought it looked like it went there. The last 2 months we could not get him to work on puzzles even at the hospital. Just seemed he was not in the right place to work on them even for a distraction.
Chester would be willing to try to fix or build almost anything. He would check lamps, ceiling fans, vibrating chair motors, tool motors, lawn mowers, weed eaters, garden tractors. He loved to tell stories about jobs he had done especially if they included mess ups done at the factory like one on a tractor that finally found a rag had been stuffed in the intake or someplace—the engine had to be taken apart to find the problem. For his 95 years he had many stories that would seem to merge in the telling as a name would remind him of something else. He could also ask questions about someone suddenly as if we were able to know what he had been thinking. He was really upset the last few years in not being able to remember names from the past but finally would listen when we pointed out we didn’t know the person anyway.
Chester loved his family and was proud of the many generations he had. He might have to be reminded of names but most he knew when heard name or saw them. He enjoyed the family gatherings on Thanksgiving but after a short time the noise got too much and he would have to go home saying, ‘my chair is calling me’. It was so good to have completely surprised him for his 90th birthday in 2017 with so many families and friends who came.
Chester was preceded in death by his parents, 4 brothers and 5 sisters, his wife Bonita in 1997, son Kevin in 2014 and daughter Kathleen in 2017. He is survived. his sister June Richardson of Haysville, KS; Sister Barbara and husband Larry McNickle of rural Cherryvale, KS. Son Tom and wife Renee Mishler of Dickinson, TX; Daughter Mary Mishler of Ashland, KS, daughter-in-law Becky Mishler of Ashland, and daughter Denise and husband John Cleveland of Birmingham, AL. 14 grandchildren, 30 great Grandchildren and 7 great-great grandchildren, many nieces, nephews cousins and friends.
The family requests that any donations be given to the Ashland Senior Center.