Chester C. Logan loved talking with people and serving his country.
He defended his country in capacities few men ever achieve. He landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy and deterred German attacks until the Battle of the Bulge. After the war he settled into a life in Columbia as a devoted husband and beloved businessman.
Chester C. Logan died Friday, March 30, 2012. He was 97.
He was born Aug. 4, 1914, in Sedalia to Joab and Anna Logan.
After being mobilized into the U.S. Army during World War II with the Missouri National Guard, Mr. Logan was always a step ahead of the Allied front in Western Europe. He surveyed enemy positions all the way into Germany after landing in Normandy, France.
Mr. Logan was awarded a Silver Star for his actions in the Battle of the Bulge. Blake Wooderson, Mr. Logan's nephew, said that after taking shelter in a bell tower of a Belgian town, his uncle single-handedly radioed in attacks to thwart all German counter-efforts to retake the town.
With large numbers of American casualties, Mr. Logan's captain took an unusual step and provided him the approval code to order an attack whenever he heard movement. Not only was Mr. Logan successful in defending the town, but Wooderson also credits his uncle for playing a crucial role in stopping the Battle of the Bulge.
Not surprisingly, Mr. Logan's efforts influenced Wooderson, who would drive from Lee's Summit to Columbia just to hear his uncle's war stories. The stories resonated with him enough so that he, too, joined the Army.
"Talking to a war hero with the experience my Uncle Chester has, it's going to motivate you to serve your country also," Wooderson said.
Wooderson, who served in Iraq, remains on active duty based in Fort Lewis, Wash.
After returning from WWII, Mr. Logan married Margaret White in 1947. They were married for 52 years until her death on July 13, 1999.
Mr. Logan owned West Side Barber Shop, at the intersection of Garth Avenue and West Broadway, for almost 40 years. Customers trusted him and returned to his barber shop for several years until he sold his shop. He then became a greeter at Walmart and retired when he was 92.
"He had a lot of friends in the home where he lived," Wooderson said. "A lot of people would flock to him and say hi to him."
Mr. Logan was president of The Columbia Show-Me Cosmopolitan Club, a service club that works to unite and serve the community. He was also dedicated to raising money for the Children's Miracle Network and for the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.
He loved fishing, never missing an opening day at Bennett Spring State Park, Dorothy Logan, his sister-in-law said. For as long as she knew him — 57 years — he fished. He would fish whenever he had the chance — at least once a week, Wooderson said.
Despite his accomplished life both in the military and as a civilian, Mr. Logan would always tell Wooderson to never forget to have fun.
"Whatever you're doing, you've got to have fun doing it," Wooderson remembered his uncle saying. "Or else what's the point?"
Mr. Logan is survived by a granddaughter, Cindy Hart, of Grove, Okla.; sisters-in-law, Dorothy (White) Van Orman of Fairport, N.Y., and Dorothy Logan of Lee's Summit; several nephews and nieces; three great-grandchildren; and many great-great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W., followed by services at 2 p.m. Burial will follow in Fairview Cemetery.
Memorial contributions can be made in lieu of flowers to the American Cancer Society, 33 E. Broadway, Suite 100, Columbia, MO 65203.
Tributes can be left at www.memorialfuneralhomeandcemetery.com.