Chester Lee Burdett passed away peacefully on December 25, 2017, in San Antonio.
Chester was born on April 22, 1932, in La Pryor, Texas. He worked his family’s land from the time he was old enough to sit a horse until age 17, when he left home to drive a cattle truck cross-country. Four years later, at age 21, Chester entered the United States Army and began his career in public service. On return from active duty, he served as deputy sheriff in Crystal City and then joined the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (then the Game and Fish Commission) in 1957.
Chester was working as a Game Warden in Atascosa County when he met his future wife, local beauty Janice Tyler. Seeing the tall young lawman in uniform for the first time, Janice told her lunch companion, “That’s the man I’m going to marry.” Chester was as taken with her as she was with him; they made their first date the next day and were married just a few months later in early 1960. The couple spent the next three decades living in Pleasanton, Portland, and Mountain City as Chester moved up through the ranks of the Department. They were blessed with two daughters along the way and made a great many friends.
Chester was named Director of Law Enforcement in 1979 and the vision and innovation he brought to that position are reflected in today’s Game Wardens. On his retirement in 1992, he held the rank of Colonel and was recognized across the State for his integrity, dedication, professionalism, and devotion to duty. He was commended by the Governor of Texas, the Texas Senate, the Texas House of Representatives, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Governor of Kentucky (who commissioned him a Kentucky Colonel).
Janice became ill in 1996 and Chester was her sole and stubborn caregiver until her death in 2005. During that time, the couple returned home to Pleasanton where Chester farmed, raised cattle, and served his family and church until 2017. Chester will be remembered in many ways: a turn of phrase, a great story, the things he built, and the lessons he taught. He will be missed.
Chester is preceded in death by his wife of forty-five years, Janice Tyler Burdett; his parents, Frank and Osa Burdett; his brothers, Jack and Allen Burdett; and his sister, Frances Burdett Schaefer. He is survived by his two daughters and their husbands, Kathleen and Jon Lange of Jourdanton and Karen and Thomas Ray of Kyle; his two grandchildren, Arden Lange and Parker Ray; his brothers, Albert Burdett of San Angelo and Johnny Burdett of Campbellton; his cousin Elaine Flores and her husband Mike of San Antonio; as well as extended family and many, many friends.
Visitation will be on Friday, December 29, from 2:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Hurley Funeral Home in Pleasanton with the family present from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. The funeral service will be Saturday, December 30, at 10:00 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Pleasanton with burial following at the Pleasanton City Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to Gear Up For Game Wardens, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation initiative that provides specialty equipment to Game Wardens to ensure their safety and to support them in providing the highest level of service to the people of Texas.