Chester V. Ault was born in 1914 on a frosty December day in Cedar Bluff, Alabama. He was a longtime resident of Chattanooga, where his many ventures included founding a chain of Ault Hardware and Appliance Stores, developing North Crest Estates on Missionary Ridge and management of Ault Properties, where he worked until his death this morning at age 104.
Chester was a great lover of nature. Famous for his beautiful dahlias and tasty tomatoes, he had a lifelong respect for animals of all kinds. He traveled widely throughout the world, visiting 11 African countries. There he not only spent time with the mountain gorillas in Rwanda but hunted big game in Botswana. He was an avid quail hunter who worked diligently to restore the quail population in Lookout Valley.
A world traveler, Chester loved to entertain with his stories of climbing the Great Pyramid and traveling down the Amazon. However, Rome was his favorite city, where he returned five times to trace the life and death of St. Paul.
Chester came into international prominence in 1971 when he and his first wife, Katie, were managing the harness racing stable of the Dave L. Brown Trust. It was under their leadership that Steady Star became the fastest harness horse in the world and held the world record for 10 years. In 1997, both the horse and Chester were featured in Sports Illustrated and on CNN.
Proud to have served his country during World War II in the Army Air Corp, Chester was very interested in the history of the United States, learning that he was a descendant of both William Brewster and Isaac Allerton, who arrived in 1620 on the Mayflower. He was a lifetime member of the Veteran of Foreign Wars.
During his lifetime, Chester was a member of First Centenary United Methodist Church, the Chattanooga Golf and Country Club, Fairyland Club, The Walden Club and the Dahlia Society. He was a former member of the Brainerd Kiwanis Club and the Jaycees.
He is survived by his wife, Rosemary Wilbanks Ault, his daughter, Cathie Ault Kasch, and two grandchildren, Katie Kasch Bien (Keith) of Wildwood and Andrew David Kasch of Hollywood, California, as well as four great-grandchildren, Zoë and Mia Kasch and Tala and Silas Bien. He also leaves behind stepchildren Robert Wilbanks, Emmaly Wilbanks Manuel (Joe) and three step- grandchildren, Meredith, Wil and Mary Melissa Manuel.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Katie Brown Ault, his son, Van Robert Ault, his sister, Catherine Ault Gill, and his brother, Hugh Ault Sr.
The funeral service will be held Monday, April 22, at 3 p.m. at First Centenary United Methodist Church. Visitation will be held prior to the service from 1-3 p.m. at the church. Graveside service to follow at Forest Hills Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to First Centenary United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 208, Chattanooga, TN 37401.