Chester (Bud) Thomas Williams, age 97, died at his home on Tuesday, February 6th. He was a longtime resident of Rye, attended Milton School and was a 1941 graduate of Rye High. Chet was married for some 70 years to his high-school sweetheart, the late Marion O’Hara. He served with distinction in WWII, returning to pursue his education at Ohio Wesleyan and at Columbia University, where he received his Master’s Degree in Social Work in 1952.
In the course of his long career, he held a number of social service positions; notably, he acted as Associate Director of International Social Service in New York City and Health Consultant for the Westchester Council of Social Agencies. He was also a member of the Westchester County Board of Health, the Westchester Council for the Disabled, and the NYS Recreation and Parks Association, and a consultant to various nursing homes in the community. He concluded the last decades of his career as the Director of the Westchester Lighthouse for the Blind. Chet was active in the Westchester County and Rye communities and was the Founding President of The Friends of Rye Town Park.
Over the course of his four-year tour of duty in the U.S. Navy from 1941 to 1945, he served on PT boats 108 and 106 during the Solomon Islands campaign. There, he was involved in nighttime encounters between his unarmored boat and armored, troop-carrying Japanese barges, shore batteries and aircraft. He was Quartermaster on PT 106 and in the immediate vicinity on the night JFK and his crew from PT 109 were rescued.
Chet and Marion enjoyed many trips abroad during their retirement. He also loved his community and was a presence in Rye, often found at the Rye Rec playing tennis, at the Rye library, or with Marion at Rye Beach or walking the Playland boardwalk.
He is survived by his two sons; Chester of Sherman, CT and Robert of Poughkeepsie, NY; his daughter, Victoria Beaver of Brooklyn, NY; six grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and his beloved, longtime caregiver, Georgina. His vibrant, engaging nature and friendly demeanor endeared him to all.