Chester O. Ensign Jr.
COCONUT CREEK, Fla — Chester O. (Chet) Ensign Jr., 93, a WWII aviator, mining executive and avid sailor, passed away peacefully on May 17, 2018, in Coconut Creek, FL, attended by his son, Stephen.
He was born in Statesville, North Carolina, on October 23, 1924, to Ruth Garland Dillon Ensign and Chester Ensign Sr.
Chet attended The Citadel for two years before enlisting in the Navy in July 1943. He became a Naval Aviator trained to fly Grumman Torpedo Bombers and on promotion became “Ensign Ensign.”
After the war, Chet earned BS degrees in Business and Geology from UNC Chapel Hill.
He married Nettie Elizabeth (Betty) Dunlop on March 18, 1950, and began his career in minerals and mining.
He wrote numerous articles, contributed to several textbooks, and in 1967, was awarded the Robert Peele Memorial Award by the Society of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers. He received Honorary Doctorates from Colorado State Christian College and Michigan Tech University.
In 1963, Chet joined the Copper Range Company, becoming president and CEO from 1970 to 1977. After leaving Copper Range, Chet served as a senior vice-president at American Metals Climax, until retiring in 1983.
Throughout their lives, Chet and Betty enjoyed skiing, traveling and boating. They were avid sailors and, with family and friends, cruised and raced their boats, all named “Ensign Four,” extensively on the east coast and Great Lakes.
Chet was predeceased by his wife of 64 years, Betty; his brother, Randolph Garland; and his sister-in-law, Angeline (Angie) Thompson Ensign.
He is survived by his sons, Chet III and Stephen; his daughters-in-law, Barbara and Susan; granddaughters, Emma Ensign and Shannon (Jake) Molzan; and two great- grandchildren, Alex and Lily.
In memory of Chet, donations can be made to Honor Flight honorflight .org, a non-profit honoring America’s veterans, or to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society nmcrs.org, providing financial, educational, and other assistance to members of the U.S. Navy.
Details for a memorial service have not yet been set.