Chester McNelly

Chester McNelly

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Chester (Chet) R. McNelly died suddenly of a heart attack on October 3rd, 2019 at 77 years old. He was born May 1st, 1942 in Anoka Minnesota to Olive Helen (Conradi) McNelly and Chester H. McNelly. The family moved to Webster City where Chet graduated from Lincoln High School in 1960. Chet married Janice Nelson from Cedar Falls on August 7th, 1965. They were married for 38 years, separating in 2003. He graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in Art Education in the spring of 1968. He taught school in Manley, Iowa for two years and in 1970 the family moved to Grand Marais, Minnesota. Chet taught school in Grand Marais and also drove truck, worked at the Beaver House Sporting Goods store and was one of the owners of the Northland Ice Company. In 1976, Chet moved to Alaska and worked on the construction of the Trans Alaska Oil pipeline. After the pipeline was completed he worked for Chevron in Fairbanks Alaska. In 1998, he and Janice moved back to Webster City.

Chet was an accomplished artist and enjoyed painting and pottery. In retirement he ran a small pottery company, Crazy Cat Pottery, and enjoyed making pottery immensely. He was also passionate about aviation, owning several planes over the years and working as a flight instructor in his last few years in Alaska. He loved the outdoors and was an avid fisherman and hunter.

He was a man of strong opinions and was sought out by friends and family for advice on many occasions. He had a great sense of humor and his laugh could fill up a room. Chet was very generous, liked to help people and never said no to a request for help from anyone. It seemed no matter what the situation, Chet had a story about a personal experience or something a friend went through that pertained to the situation, usually in a very humorous way.

Chet is survived by two sons, Trenton and Daniel; his ex-wife Janice; his sisters, Elizabeth Weieneth, Mary Burtnett, and Sarah McNelly; his brother Donald McNelly; grandchildren, Caitlin McNelly, Samantha McNelly, Darren McNelly and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Chet and Helen and his sister, Jerre Salzer.
Memorial services will be held at Foster Funeral & Cremation Center at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 10th with a visitation starting at 12:00 p.m. until the service.

In lieu of flowers please make a gift to Hamilton County Friends of Conservation.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Thursday, October 10th, 2019 | 12:00pm - 1:00pm
    Thursday, October 10th, 2019 12:00pm - 1:00pm
    Foster Funeral and Cremation Center
    800 Willson Ave
    Webster City, Iowa 50595
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Thursday, October 10th, 2019 | 1:00pm
    Thursday, October 10th, 2019 1:00pm
    Foster Funeral and Cremation Center
    800 Willson Ave
    Webster City, Iowa 50595
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Tom Bowman

Posted at 10:47am
Chet, was one of the great people during high school. Always had a smile and said Hi to everyone. Sorry for the loss
Tom Bowman

Patrick Carroll

Posted at 11:13am
I fondly remember teaching Chet instrument flying at the Webster City Airport. We spent many enjoyable hours together in the plane and at the airport. It was always a laugh a minute! He brought a spark to everything.

Nadine Maki

Posted at 09:44am
I remember going to the McNelly house in Grand Marais as a kid and building snow forts with Dan and Trent. Mr. McNelly was really nice man. Hugs to the family, especially to Dan and Trent...Loss is heavy....💕

Roma Johnson

Posted at 03:43pm
Chet was one of my best friends. We had great fun running with the gang while in high school in Webster City. We reconnected when I started spending my summers in Iowa in 2007. We spent many a summer evening on the porch of my childhood home, talking about anything and everything. When I returned to Hawaii, I could count on receiving an email from him every Sunday. I will miss him!!

Aloha, Chet. Love, Roma.

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