A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated April 6 at St. Aedan’s, The Saint Peter’s University Church, for Kathleen B. Chester, 90. She passed away March 30. Born in Jersey City, Kathleen attended St. Patrick’s Grammar School and was a proud graduate of the Abraham Lincoln High School Class of 1948. She spoke fondly of her involvement in the St. Patrick’s Teen Club, her participation in the chorale group at Lincoln High School and countless hours spent in Brummer’s Ice Cream parlor and other landmarks in the Junction section of Jersey City.
After high school Kathleen attended the prestigious Wood Secretarial School in Manhattan and graduated at the top of her class. She was quite adept at stenography and her record of words per minute was unbeaten when she last inquired thirty years later in the 1980’s. Following her completion of studies at the Wood School she was recruited for a position with the then newly formed Reynolds Aluminum Company. She subsequently went to work for the County of Hudson where she met and married her husband, Kenneth.
In 1956, Kathleen interrupted her career to assume the role of mother to her two children. As circumstance would have it, due to the health of her husband, Kathleen was forced to return to the workforce in 1962 and become the bread winner for her family. She accepted a job at C & D batteries on Fairmount Avenue in Jersey City and had a short stint working in the Violations Bureau of the Jersey City Municipal Court. In 1966 Kathleen began a distinguished 40 + year career in the Hudson County and New Jersey Superior Courts. She was a quick learner and eventually rose to the position of Chief Criminal Assignment Clerk responsible for the entire court calendar in the County of Hudson. When the court started to incorporate computers into daily work it was Kathleen who was tapped to be part of the implementation team and soon learned the computer languages of Cobol and Fortran to begin the transition.
Despite having the dual role of bread winner and mother, Kathleen found time to volunteer for various causes. Kathleen was an At-Large Member of the Gold Star Wives. She was a member of the St. Aloysius and St. Peter’s Prep parents’ groups, coordinated the first Baptismal Classes for parents in St. Aloysius Parish, and was a longtime member of the St. Aloysius Choir. She volunteered with the American Red Cross and served on the Hudson County Selective Service Commission for over 15 years. Once she moved to Society Hill in Jersey City she became an active member of the homeowner’s association as well as the senior citizens group coordinating many bus trips and other adventures. In 1990 she was honored for her community work as part of the City’s Women’s History month observance.
Kathleen had a thirst for adventure which she was able to pursue starting in the 1970’s. Her countless journeys took her to locations such as England, Ireland, France, Brussels, Russia, Egypt, Casablanca, Greece and Italy to name just a few. In later years she limited her travels to cruising the Caribbean with her brother and “cruise partner” Michael. They became platinum members of the Cunard Cruise Lines.
Kathleen’s thirst for knowledge found her in the early 1970s enrolling in St. Peter’s College to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration through the County College. In 1977 she graduated as Salutatorian of her class with her degree being conferred at Giants Stadium. She then took advanced course work at Rutgers University in Newark. She also completed the Archdiocese of Newark’s Christian Foundations for Ministry Program in 1995.
Kathleen was known for her love of Irish music, opera, her walks in New York City and her impeccable dress. She was known to wear her white gloves at all times, even on trips to the grocery store. In fact, her sons never saw her in a pair of slacks. Rumor is that she did wear slacks once while on an archaeological dig in Egypt but no pictures exist to prove this rumor.
Kathleen was predeceased by her husband, Kenneth W., her parents Michael J. and Rose Ann Coyle Boylan, her brother Michael F. X. Boylan and his wife Edna and her sister Rosemarie Atkinson and her husband Charles. She is survived by her sons, John T. M. and his wife, Rosemary, Bernard J. J. and his wife, Dorota, her six grandchildren, Timothy, Kevin and his fiancé Ashley, Megan and her husband Dimitri, Bernard Jr., Mark and Adam. She is also survived by many nieces, nephews, cousins and their spouses, children and grandchildren. Services arranged by the McLaughlin Funeral Home, Jersey City.