Chester Nimitz Jr.
Chester William Nimitz Jr.
|Born||February 17, 1915|
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|Died||January 2, 2002 (aged 86)|
Needham, Massachusetts, U.S.
Pleasant Hill Cemetery
|Service/||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1936–1957|
|Commands held||Submarine Squadron 6|
USS Sarda (SS-488)
USS Haddo (SS-255)
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Silver Star (3)
Bronze Star Medal
|Relations||Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz (father)|
Chester William "Chet" Nimitz Jr. (February 17, 1915 – January 2, 2002) was an American submarine commander in the United States Navy during World War II and the Korean War, and a businessman. He was awarded the Navy Cross and three Silver Stars for valor in battle. He was the son of U.S. Navy Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.
Nimitz was born to Chester William Nimitz Sr. and Catherine Vance (née Freeman) Nimitz at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, while the couple, with their daughter Catherine Vance "Kate" (born the year before), lived at 415 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, and Nimitz Sr. was working on the USS Maumee at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Nimitz married Joan Leona Labern at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard on 18 June 1938. She was born in León, Nicaragua in 1912 to British parents, William Oscar Stonewall and Frances Mary (née Wells) Labern. With her parents she returned to England at the outbreak of World War I in 1914, and was raised in England. Joan came to the United States in 1938 to study dentistry at the University of California Dental School in San Francisco, and met Chester at a cocktail party at Mare Island. She would make news in 1944 when she failed her test to become a United States citizen; two days later she did become an American citizen.
- Served aboard the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA-35)
- Served aboard the submarine USS Sturgeon (SS-187) during the Philippines Campaign (1941–1942)
- Commanded the U.S. Navy Submarine USS Haddo and inflicted 14,756 tons of shipping losses upon the Imperial Japanese Navy during the period of August 22, 1944 – September 21, 1944
- Commanded the U.S. Navy Submarine USS Sarda (SS-488)
- Commanded Submarine Squadron 6 based in Norfolk, Virginia
Chester Nimitz Jr. retired from the navy as rear admiral in 1957. He joined Texas Instruments, and spent four years there. He later joined Perkin-Elmer Corporation, a manufacturer of scientific instruments based in Norwalk, Connecticut. He became president, chief executive officer (CEO) and a director in 1965, and was elected Chairman of the Board in 1969, serving until retirement in 1980.
The health of Nimitz and his wife, Joan, deteriorated in their later years. Joan was blind, and Nimitz had lost 30 pounds due to a prolonged stomach disorder. He was also suffering from congestive heart failure. On January 2, 2002, Chester Nimitz Jr. committed voluntary suicide with his wife Joan by ingesting a quantity of sleeping pills in their home at a retirement residence in Needham, Massachusetts. He left a note stating:
Our decision was made over a considerable period of time and was not carried out in acute desperation. Nor is it the expression of a mental illness. We have consciously, rationally, deliberately and of our own free will taken measures to end our lives today because of the physical limitations on our quality of life placed upon us by age, failing vision, osteoporosis, back and painful orthopedic problems.
Awards and decorations
|Silver Star with two gold award stars|
|Bronze Star Medal|
|Navy Unit Commendation – USS Haddo (7th war patrol)|
- Potter, Elmer Belmont (1976). Nimitz. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-87021-492-9.
- "Paid Notice: Deaths – Nimitz, Chester W.". The New York Times. January 6, 2002.
- "Military Times Hall of Valor : Awards for Chester William Nimitz Jr". militarytimes.com. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
- Weil, Martin (January 8, 2002). "Chester W. Nimitz Jr., 86; Submarine Officer". The Washington Post. Obituaries.
- Potter. pp. 124–125.
- Potter. p. 166.
- "Nimitz Daughter-In-Law Fails In Citizenship Test". The Baltimore Sun. March 11, 1944.
- United Kingdom birth and marriage records.
- UK Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878–1960. – Arrival: London, England – 1914.
- DeMarco, Peter (January 7, 2002). "A Family at Peace with a Decision to Die". The Boston Globe.
- United Press International (May 13, 1944). "Nimitz' Daughter-In-Law Becomes U. S. Citizen". Pittsburgh Press.
- Potter. p. 417n.
- Potter. pp. 435, 437–438.
- "Japanese Naval and Merchant Vessels Sunk During WWII By All U.S. Submarines: H – J". Valor At Sea.
- "Chester Nimitz Jr., Navy Admiral, 86". The New York Times. January 8, 2002.
- Lauzon, Shelley (January 7, 2002 [Last updated: June 8, 2010]). "In Memoriam: Chester W. Nimitz Jr". Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Check date values in:
- Buchanan, Patrick J. (January 18, 2002). "The Sad Suicide of Admiral Nimitz". The American Cause.
- "Rear Adm. Chester W. Nimitz Jr". Find a Grave. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
- "Joan Labern Nimitz". Find a Grave. Retrieved May 27, 2019.