Samuel J. Chester
Sam Chester left behind a legacy of science, music and love. The Cranston resident died Friday, July 6 at home, at the age of 99. The Warwick Beacon and Cranston Herald had a fond relationship with Chester, who provided many fascinating and inspiring stories.
Chester was born in Providence, and lived in Cranston for 48 years. A cancer researcher at Rhode Island Hospital and the Veterans Administration Hospital for over 20 years, Chester discovered the “PSA,” or prostate-specific antigen, test. Most recently, Chester spearheaded a clinical study at Brown University that was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration. To start in August, the study will examine the effects of LDN, or low dose naltrexone, on melanoma, prostate and rectal cancers. Chester’s late wife, Esther, an artist whose work is owned by president Bill Clinton, was diagnosed with metastic melanoma last year. Chester began administering LDN to his wife, and watched as her tumor shrunk. After three weeks of taking the drug, all that remained of the tumor was scar tissue. When she died several months later, it wasn’t because of the cancer.
Chester’s devotion to his wife was not something he kept to himself. He often wrote her songs, and after her death, performed them in her memory on his violin.
Chester helped to promote his wife’s art, ensuring lithographs of her pieces were hung in community spaces across the city.
In December, Chester made a six-figure donation to Temple Am David, where he also performed “A Song for Esther” on his violin. She was in attendance for the event that featured the dedication of the Esther Chester Art Center.
“My time is running out,” said Chester of his contribution to the Temple. “I have to do something for the community.”
In addition to being a loving husband, community advocate and groundbreaking scientist, Chester boasted an impressive resume of both professional and humanitarian credits.
He was the owner of Standard Wire Co. in Providence for 25 years and a violinist in the R.I. Philharmonic Orchestra for 28 years. He was a graduate of Providence College, Class of 1934. In 1994, Chester received his Honorary Doctorate of Medical Science from Providence College, based on his cancer research. Chester also served as the president of the Friends of Music Mansion and past president of the East Greenwich Art Club.
Sam Chester’s legacy is one of true success; a lifetime filled with discovery, ingenuity, love and a passion for helping others.
He leaves a niece, Lynda Horenstein of Warwick, 1 great-niece, 1 great-nephew, 3 great-great-nephews and his close friend, Anthony DelVecchio of Warwick. Sam was predeceased by his sister, Beatrice Horenstein.
Funeral services for Sam Chester will be held July 10 at 10 a.m. in Temple Am David at 40 Gardiner Street in Warwick. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to the American Cancer Society or Temple Am David. Shiva will be observed at his late residence July 10 from 4 to 7 p.m.
Arrangements by Shalom Memorial Chapel, Cranston.
@C_Cutline:SONG FOR ESTHER: Sam Chester plays a song for his wife, Esther, at the dedication of the Esther Chester Art Center at Temple Am David last December.