Chester Howard, the San Francisco Chronicle's office manager
and a 35-year newsroom veteran, died Saturday in Oakland from complications
of AIDS. He was 61.
Mr. Howard was born in Denver on April 15, 1925, and soon moved to
Washington, D.C., where his father practiced law. After his parents were
divorced, Mr. Howard joined one of his brothers and his mother in Oakland.
He attended junior high school in the city, and then was graduated
from Oakland High School. After serving in the Navy in 1942 and 1943, he
studied liberal arts at the University of California at Berkeley, graduating
Mr. Howard was hired at The Chronicle 35 years ago as a copy boy.
For about 20 years he was a wire attendant, taking care of wire service
Teletype machines before they were replaced by computers.
Later, he was an assistant to columnist Abe Mellinkoff. In 1983,
he was named office manager.
"Chester has been a lively, vital, interesting part of The Chronicle
family for many, many years," said Jerry Burns, Chronicle editorial page
editor and former city editor. "We'll all miss him."
Phelps Dewey, assistant to the publisher for administration, called
Mr. Howard "a tremendously responsible executive who made order out of
chaos." Members of The Chronicle city room staff will remember him for
his quick sense of humor and dedication to the paper.
Mr. Howard was first diagnosed as having acquired immune deficiency
syndrome - and a type of pneumonia associated with the disease - shortly
before Thanksgiving. He remained at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center for
treatment until he died at about 10:20 p.m. on Saturday.
He is survived by his older brother, Andrew Howard III of Santa Cruz,
and by two uncles, an aunt and eight nieces and nephews.
At Mr. Howard's request, no services will be held. His body will
be cremated and the ashes will be scattered over the Pacific Ocean.
The family asks that friends make donations in his name to the charity
of their choice.