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Chester Martin '65 January 23, 2024 11:30 AM updated: January 23, 2024 11:40 AM

Chester O. Martin 

June 17, 1943 - August 27, 2023 

Chester Martin was born in Brownsville, TX on June 17, 1943. He was the first born of identical twins to Howard and Lorae Martin. He went to join his heavenly family on August 27, 2023. He was preceded in death by his parents and by his brothers, Victor and Larry.

He graduated from Taylor High School and then attended Texas A&M University where he earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences. He completed post-graduate studies at Texas A&M, Mississippi State University, and New Mexico State University. He was a Certified Wildlife Biologist and a Professional Wetland Scientist. He was a member of numerous professional organizations including The Wildlife Society, Wildlife Management Institute, National Wildlife Federation, National Military Fish and Wildlife Association, American Society of Mammologists, Society of Wetland Scientists, Society for Conservation Biology, Southwestern Association of Naturalists and the Southeastern Bat Diversity Network. He chaired committees with The Wildlife Society and National Military Wildlife Association and was the founder of the Mississippi Bat Working Group. He was a past president of NMWA and served five terms on the NMWA Board of Directors. He was a Research Wildlife Biologist with the Environmental Laboratory, U.S. Army Engineer Research Development Center. He retired in January 2008 after 37 years with the Department of Defense. He had spent 4 years in active service in the U.S. Navy and is a Vietnam Veteran. He spent 6 years with the Corps of Engineers Galveston District then approximately 25 years with USAER-ERDC. During his ERDC career he served as Team Leader of the Wildlife Resources and Environmental Stewardship Teams and Acting Branch Chief for the Wetland and Terrestrial Habitat, and Ecological Resources Branches.

Chester was also a freelance artist who worked in a variety of media including pen-and-ink, watercolor and acrylic. His favorite subjects include fish and wildlife, seascapes, and rural landscapes. In 2012, he was recognized as a “Champion of Conservation” by the Mississippi Wildlife Federation. He was featured as a “Mississippi Favorite Artist” for four years at the MS Medical Association Annual Conference in Biloxi. In 2018, he was awarded the prestigious “Jay N. ‘Ding’ Darling Award for Wildlife Stewardship through Art” by The Wildlife Society. He has illustrated several books, technical papers, and magazine articles on fish and wildlife. He illustrated the recently released book “The Mammals of Trans-Pecos Texas”.

He and Shirley have been members of Hawkins Methodist Church since 1980, and he has been active in the Men’s Club and serving in various roles. In 2012 and 2013 he was part of a mission trip to Honduras and taught art skills to a women’s ministry. Throughout his career he had made an effort to donate drawings and paintings to help support conservation programs and charitable organizations.

Chester was a beloved husband, father and grandfather. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Shirley, his children Jake (Amanda) and Sharon (Leo), and three grandchildren Madison, Caleigh and Jordan. He is also survived by his two sisters-in-law Christy and Linda.

The family would like to express their deep appreciation of all the love, support and concern shown during his illness. In lieu of flowers, we would ask that you support organizations that protect the natural habitat for the wildlife that he loved so much (Ocean Conservancy – Wildlife Conservancy) or the America Heart Association. Your friendship is a rare and precious gift.

Memorial services will be held at Noon on Saturday, September 30 at Hawkins United Methodist Church. Visitation will be from 11 am until the hour of service at the church. 


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