CHESTER “CHET” ADALBERT KIL, 88, of South Bend, Indiana, passed away Wednesday, July 15, 2020, in his home, surrounded by his loving family. Chester was born on April 23, 1932, in South Bend to Joseph and Anna (Rosiejewski) Kil, into a large devoted and loving Polish Catholic family as the 11th child of 14 children, which consisted of 10 girls and 4 boys, and he was the youngest son. On February 15, 1958, in St. Joseph Church, South Bend, Indiana, he married the love of his life, Patricia “Pat” Ann Buck, who predeceased him in 2018 shortly after they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. Also surviving are his two daughters, Lucinda “Cindy” Kil Gillis and her husband Peter F. Gillis, III of Granger, Indiana and Tamara Kil-Myers and her husband Dr. Gerald Myers of South Bend, Indiana; nine grandchildren, Kelly (Amanda) Schmidt of Austin, Texas, with the others all from South Bend: Nick Dalton, Angela (Dr. Zac Williams) Gillis Williams, Maria (Brandon Isakov) Gillis, Peter F. (Jenna Colglazier) Gillis IV, Christina Gillis, Katherine Gillis, Margaret Gillis, and Joseph Gillis; three great-grandchildren, Dylan Jankowski, James Peter Isakov, and Jude Chester Isakov, and two great-grandchildren who are soon-to-be-born, Layla Katherine Williams and Peter F. Gillis V; his brother Richard Kil and his spouse Elizabeth, his sister Anne McMahon, and his sister Virginia Pulaski and her spouse Thomas; and numerous nieces, nephews and friends. Chester was preceded in death by his wife Patricia in 2018, and by these brothers/sisters and their spouses, Wanda (Frank) Rafinski, Roman (Sylvia) Kil, Irene (James) Suth, Alice (John) Rakowski, Sally (Richard) VanParis, Henrietta (Charles Scott/Richard) Lauden, Henry (Edna) Kil, Anita (Karl) Sontchi, Helen (John) Bartoszek, James McMahon, and Harriette (Jerry) Dewey; and his wife’s sister, Beverly (Phil) Schiff, and his wife’s brother, Cecil (Betty Jo) Buck, Jr.
Chester was a Master Carpenter, he self taught many of his skills from his younger days, and his most loved job was in the construction industry. He attended St. Hedwig then South Bend Catholic (now St. Joseph High School) graduating in the class of 1950, during which time he had side jobs including the outdoor theater with many good stories he used to share. Besides all the construction he always did on the side, in his early employment years he had also worked for Bendix Corporation; and then he worked with many of his siblings and relatives to help his brother-in-law Emery Suth who owned and started Hoosier Spring. He then went on with his carpentry trade and joined the Carpenter’s Local 413, and with his skills was able to pass right above the usual required apprenticeships. Over the years he was honored to work on many of the largest and most recognized commercial buildings in the city. He even solely attached the large Christmas Tree to the antenna at the top of the tallest 26 story Valley American Bank Building for 2 years in a row while it was under construction; he claimed to hold the record on the pieces of drywall he installed in commercial buildings in the city; he had a hand in about every part of everything that was needed to be done in these various jobs; and in his last years before retirement, he worked mainly with Holiday Corporation as their prized Finish Carpenter, where much of his fine trimwork is still present in downtown and nearby buildings. On February 10, 2019, he was delighted to receive his Honorary 50 Year Golden Membership in the Carpenter’s Union Local 413.
Chester was a member of St. Therese Little Flower Parish where he and Pat loved to attend Sunday evening Mass with Father Ed Ondrako and Father Terry Coonan, Jr. Chet was active and loving, full of energy and life, and always a kid at heart. He was the kindest soul with a gentle smile, and always had a twinkle in his blue eyes, always ready for a joke, or a hug and a kiss. He was always there to help anyone with anything over his own needs. Chet never sat around, and to Chet, taking a nap or laying around in a chair was considered losing quality time in life. Over the years he helped his mother “Busia”, and the many relatives and friends with repairs, additions, major construction, while always including or teaching the little ones and giving them a quarter when they helped. Chester loved his family, and was an outstanding Father, and a super Grandfather to all his grandchildren, and he loved caring for all of them. He and Pat babysat them, attended all the activities of the grandchildren, carpooled them around over the years, and supported them all in each and every way and in every event, and never missing a game. He and Pat even took a Greyhound bus to Seattle to see some of them play in and win the Little League Softball World Series. He volunteered where they played at East Side Little League by doing construction projects around the park. He selflessly babysat them for numerous hours, played with them in any make-believe games, he was always ready to be the student when they played school, he was the customer when they played restaurant, a great card player when they played Euchre. He taught them all about fishing, how to put a worm on a hook, how to find worms in the nighttime with a flashlight and pitchfork, how to use tools, how to build things, fix things, how to garden, how to make a blade of grass whistle. He especially adored his Great-Grandson Dylan, they were truly “Best Buds”, and spent many hours together all the way through his last moments. He left memories with all these Grandchildren to carry in their hearts and share for lifetimes.
Chester loved his 2 children, Cindy and Tammy, and lovingly adopted Tammy when marrying Pat, and was the best Father anyone could imagine. He truly loved his children. He was there for any need, helped with homework, read books, watched good old scary movies together, taught them how to say good night prayers, played numerous games, attended every activity; loved the company of all their friends at Donnell Lake, especially on the Fourth of July which was his favorite holiday. He was strict with the boys when they would arrive for dates, and cried when each left for college. Once married, he loved being active with their spouses as well, he even added himself in the men’s Gillis Realty softball team when they needed a player. He then took on lovingly caring for the grandchildren the same way.
Most of all Chester loved his wife Patricia. He said it was “love at first site”, and took care of her in every way possible. In their 60 years of marriage together, they never left nor welcomed each other without first a kiss, hug, and saying “I love you.” They literally spent every hour of their non-working lives together, drinking coffee on their patio while overlooking the lake, cooking together, going to the grocery stores, and watching ND games where Pat would ring the big church bell on their driveway with each touchdown for the whole neighborhood to hear. They were always sharing every thought and taking on activities, and together the two even built 10 cottages, mostly at Donnell Lake, and a home by hand, all in their time outside of regular full-time working hours; and in this endeavor, he cut down hundreds of trees to clear the land prior, they both wheeled concrete in the wheelbarrow for their slabs, taught the children all how to build houses, worked tirelessly for many years; and he always took a break to take everyone waterskiing. Even with all the hard work with his hands, Chet had very soft hands; he used to tell everyone that he had to use special hand lotion, “because when I touch Pat, my hands have to be nice and soft.” Chet saw to it that the street at Donnell Lake would be named after Pat, as Patricia Lane. Chet was delighted for Pat and all the children when she learned just a couple years prior to her passing that she was a descendant of the Mayflower. Chet and Pat lovingly cared for each other all those years, and successfully through all of their illnesses until Pat’s last days.
In the end three things remain, faith, hope and love, and their love for each other will always remain; and Chet and Pat together will always carry on as a witness to faith, hope and enduring love for all of us. We are reassured that he is at peace and was welcomed with open arms by Pat, whose birthday was coming the day after he passed, and that he was greeted by all of our family members up there waiting for him. It is going to be lonely without him and losing him will leave a huge void in our hearts and lives...they don't make them like our dad anymore...he took such good care of our mother and all of us...Love and miss you, Daddy and Grandpa.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 am. Saturday, July 18, 2020 in St. Therese Little Flower Church, with Father Ed Ondrako. Entombment will follow in St. Joseph Valley Memorial Park. A visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Friday at Kaniewski Funeral Home, where a rosary will be prayed at 7:30 p.m. A visitation will also be held in St. Therese Little Flower Church from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. Saturday in the church prior to the Funeral Mass.
Memorial Contributions may be directed to Little Flower. Kaniewski Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. To send online condolences, please visit kaniewski.com.
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