George Wayne Chidester, 96, passed away peacefully at his home in Springville, Utah on Saturday, June 05, 2021. Wayne was born on October 19, 1924 in Bicknell, Utah to John William Chidester, Jr. and Amanda Melvina Smith Chidester.
He was lovingly known to his friends as “Speck” due to his freckles. As a young man he spent his summers working on and exploring his Uncle Marin’s orchards in Fruita Utah, the area that is now Capitol Reef National Park. Wayne excelled at both baseball and basketball. Because of his extraordinary talents Wayne received a scholarship offer to play basketball for South Sevier High School, the team favored to win the State Championship. Wayne turned down the offer choosing instead to play for his local school, Wayne High. This would be a fated decision as he would meet the love of his life, Montez Morrell, in typing class. He graduated from Wayne High School in May of 1943.
In August of 1943 Wayne enlisted in the US Navy and was sent to Farragut Naval Training Station near Coeur d’Alene Idaho. Following his training Wayne was assigned to be a Ship Fitter aboard the USS Hilbert, an escort destroyer active during World War II. Each time Wayne was granted leave and able to travel, he found his way home to Wayne County to see Montez.
During his final leave before being honorably discharged from the Navy, Wayne returned home to Wayne County and asked Montez to marry him. Montez agreed but not before telling him that she had already planned a date for Friday night, and she intended to keep it. The two were married that weekend on Sunday November 18, 1945 and had only three days to spend together before Wayne returned to his ship. Wayne and Montez were married for 66 years and had 5 children, 10 grand-children and 7 great-grandchildren. The marriage was later solemnized in the Salt Lake Temple.
Montez had arranged for Wayne to become a Barber’s Apprentice upon his discharge from the Navy. This not only provided a way to make a living but also became a lifelong passion for Wayne who continued barbering well into his 90s. Wayne also worked for more than 20 years at Consolidated Freightways. When he was not working Wayne was playing golf, enjoying a high-spirited card game, or spending time with his family.
Wayne was an active and devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Wayne served as a counselor in the Bishopric, on the Stake High Council, and as an Ordinance Worker for more than 20 years at both the Jordan River & Provo Temples.
Wayne is survived by his children: Kenra Chidester, Milton (Penny) Chidester, Denise (Gary) Frandsen, Brett (Michelle) Chidester; his grandchildren: Stephanie (Danny) Wood, Jeremy (Moriah) Taylor, Mindy (Beau) Tenney, Anthony Chidester, Ryan (Tyson Grey) Chidester, Wayne Frandsen, Lyman Frandsen, Lexy Chidester, Shawn Chidester; his great-grandchildren: Kelsey (Max Galvez) Lynch, Marcy Tenney, Alyssa Tenney, Natalie Tenney, Sarah Chidester, Andrea Chidester, Chaskin Chidester. He is also survived by Dick and Myrna Chappell who were not only in-laws but also life-long friends and regulars for card games.
Wayne was preceded in death by his loving wife Montez Chidester, daughter Margo Chidester, and grandchildren Kerry Taylor and Chaskin Chidester. He was also preceded in death by his parents, and all 7 siblings: Mildred S. Chidester, William Burdette (Magdalene) Chidester, John Clinton Chidester, Wilma S. (Metz) Lay, Fern S. (Cornell) Blackett, Don Chidester, and Norma Sariah Chidester.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, June 11, 2021 in the Springville 9th Ward (878 W. Center Street, Springville Utah). A viewing for friends and family will be held from 9:30 to 10:30am with a brief service to follow at 11am. Graveside Services will be conducted at Redwood Memorial (6500 S. Redwood Road, Taylorsville Utah) at 3:00pm.
For those unable to attend the services in person, they will be streamed live at