Chester Smith succumbs at 78
August 8, 2008


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Chester's  on the air signature  "This is Chester Smith speakin' right atcha."

"Wait a little longer please Jesus"  Chester and Hazel Houser 1954 original hit.
"Ballad of Chester Smith"  written by Chester. From California Blend CD  in 2002
"Wait a little longer please Jesus" Merle and Chester from California Blend CD Recorded in 2002 in Redding, CA

Lyrics

"Wait a little longer please Jesus"
Hazel Houser 

Here the labor is so hard the workers are so tired
And our weary hearts are yearning for a rest
And we find we're getting anxious to be in that happy home
Where we'll receive such peace and happiness

But wait a little longer please Jesus
There are so many still wandering out in sin
Just a little longer please Jesus
A few more days to get our loved ones in

We may look into the skies and tears will fill our eyes
For our burdened hearts grow heavier with each day
First we cry oh Lord please come come and take your children home
But then we look around us and say

Wait a little longer please Jesus...

The family scattered here and there but Lord we love them dear
And maybe we can help them find a way
But if waiting is the cost then might not be lost
Lord that's the only reason why we say

Wait a little longer please Jesus...

Chester and Ann-Lesley 2005
(Courtesy of Pat Johnson Studios)
(Obituary notice released by the family August 9, 2008)

Chester R. Smith 
March 29, 1930 -August 8, 2008
              Chester R. Smith lived a complete life touched by God. Everything that he had was provided by God's hand -- he would be the first one to tell you that, taking no credit for what God has done in his life. He did all things through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Chester quoted, In the world we are driven, but in the Spirit we are led.'' Perhaps this is the reason for his immense success as a true visionary in the media.

Development of the broadcast empire was due to the fact that he dedicated his life to God. From top TV executives to heads of state, business meetings were always opened with Chester's success/guidance formula: prayer to the Lord Jesus Christ.

He was born into a Christian home in 1930 the youngest of six children with a praying mother, whose prayers were answered by Chester's recording in 1955 his hit song and chart topper Wait A Little Longer Please Jesus'', a song about Jesus extending the harvest of souls in the end times. Chester had a recording contract with Capital Records and soon got the attention from Nashville, where he performed at the Grand Ole Opry.

As a successful performer, he was offered movie contracts and could have gone to Nashville, but declined. His vision was to work for himself, not someone else. In 1963, Chester launched the first country music radio station in the Modesto area. He then opened the first UHF television station in Northern California in 1966. Chester saw parallels between the Dust Bowl migration and the new one coming from Mexico, making his station the first Spanish language TV station in Northern California, with programming out of Mexico.

A few years later, Chester went in with a group to form Univision, now the largest Spanish-speaking network. Chester built more television stations from Santa Barbara into Northern Nevada and Oregon. He also returned to his musical roots after a 30-year hiatus, recording and performing with Merle Haggard. Smith also recorded with his singer/songwriter wife, Ann-Lesley Smith whose songs are still receiving international air play.

Chester was awarded numerous music, entertainment and communications awards, receiving the Country Music Pioneer Award, California Broadcaster of the Year Award. He was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Still, the awards, fame and fortune did not define success for him. It was his love to serve a higher purpose, the Lord Jesus Christ, as Chester stated I think that our Creator had a specific purpose for us because we are the highest creation, I think that plan and living that out is the answer.'' Chester Smith is survived by three daughters, eleven grandchildren and his loving wife Ann-Lesley Smith.

A funeral service will be held Saturday, August 16th 11:00 a.m. at Calvary Temple Worship Center, 1601 Coffee Road, Modesto, CA entrusted by Salas Brothers Funeral Chapel in charge of arrangements. Remembrances may be made to: Angels All Over Foundation P.O. 4159 Modesto, CA 95352, all donations are deductible.


A memorial service was held for Chester at the Calvary Temple Worship Center,  1601 Coffee Rd at Briggsmore (across from Memorial Hospital) in Modesto  Saturday,  August 16, 2008,  at 11 AM.
Short video of Chester's memorial services at the Calvary Church Worship Center  8-16-08.

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