The family of Chester "Chet" Wrzos announces with much sorrow his sudden passing from this life on Friday, February 14, 2020, less than one month from his 97th birthday. Chet was born on March 12, 1923, in Newark, N.J., to immigrant parents, and remained intensely proud of his Polish heritage throughout his life. His father instructed Chet on the accordion beginning in his childhood. By his teen years, he played professionally classical, ethnic, and swing jazz music, and continued through most of his life. Chet also learned to design, build, and fly indoor model airplanes, and that love of aviation influenced his enlistment into the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. He started as a pilot cadet, then continued as a multi-engine bomber mechanic at Hunter Field, Ga., eventually reassigned to Aberdeen, Md. There in Baltimore, he met his future wife, and love of his life, Anne Louise. After marriage and war's end, Chet earned his B.S. in Horticulture at N.C. State in 1954, began teaching science back home in New Jersey. He was able to continue his education during summers completing a Master's of Science and Biology through Randolph Macon Woman's College in 1972. By then, Chet had relocated his family to Amherst County and was teaching Earth Science and Biology in Lynchburg City Schools. He taught at E.C. Glass, Dunbar Jr. High, and was one of the first teachers at the new Heritage High School until his retirement. Chet put family first in his everyday life, and loved to take us travelling during summers. He was the fun uncle, the buddy brother-in-law, went fishing, played chess, took nieces and nephews camping, and was a loyal friend. In retirement he stepped up as a caregiver to older relatives. In his 80's he built and then rebuilt by hand a greenhouse to indulge his love of plants. He never turned down an open cockpit plane ride, his last one being this past October at age 96 in a Fairchild PT 19. Chet is survived by Anne, his wife of 72 years; his daughter, Suzanne; his brother, Joseph "Butch" Wrzos; his special brother-in-law, Ted Lassiter; his special niece, Susan Pater and her husband, Charles; and his cat buddy, Mr. Mittens; not to forget his sisters-in-law, all his nieces, nephews, their spouses and children, and Chet's remaining model airplane buddies. He was preceded in death by his father, Joseph; his mother, Anelia; his sisters, Mae and Alexandra; and his brothers-in-law, John, Charles, Joe, Chuck, and Ted. A memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Military Aviation Museum, Pungo, Va.; Academy of Model Aeronautics, Muncie, Ind.; or Air Force Museum/Air Force Foundation, Dayton, Ohio. Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Madison Heights, is assisting the family. To send condolences, please visit www.tharpfuneralhome.com.
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