Date of Death: September 1, 2023

Service Details

Cremation has taken place per Chester’s wishes. Visitation will take place on Friday, October 6, 2023 from 4:00-7:00 p.m. at Hohner Funeral Home with Rosary to be recited at 7:00 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be on Saturday, October 7, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Church in Three Rivers. Interment will be at Parkville Cemetery.

Obituary Notice

Chester Michael Dobrowolski, 96, of Three Rivers, passed away peacefully at Birch Meadows Senior Care on September 1, 2023. It would have been his 72nd wedding anniversary with his wife Bernice.

He was born March 20, 1927 on the family farm in Park Township to Frances Dobros and Michael Dobrowolski. He graduated from Three Rivers High School with the Class of 1944.

Chester served in the United States Army during WWII from 1945-1947 in the 505th MP Battalion. He was stationed in Austria. Chester received the Victory Medal and Army of Occupation Medal achieving the rank of Sergeant Major. He was very proud of his service and supported active military and veterans. His patriotism was reflected in his many charitable acts and in his years of community service following the war.

On September 1, 1951, he was united in marriage to Bernice Penar at St. Edward Catholic Church in Vicksburg. Shortly after, Chet and Bernice moved to the Dobrowolski family farm where they resided for 70 years, raising their children and hosting many family celebrations, class reunions, and legendary polka parties in their barn.

Chester worked for 39 years in the paper industry, moving through every level of paper making to become superintendent of the finishing department at Simpson Lee Paper Company in Vicksburg. His passion, however, was farming. Chet began his love of the land as a young boy, tilling behind a pair of horses on the family farm. He bought the farm in 1956 and continued to increase acreage as the years passed. He was early in the development of irrigation in St. Joseph County, growing primarily soybeans and corn, and eventually seed corn. Chet also planted hundreds of blue spruce trees which he and his grandsons sold for many years at Christmas time. He loved and respected the land.

Chet was a man who believed in helping others. He served Park Township and St. Joseph County for over 70 years. He was one of the original volunteer firemen for the Lockport Fabius Park Township Fire Department, eventually serving on the board. He was a trustee, treasurer, and planning commission and board of review member for over 50 years in Park Township. He was a scout master for the first Boy Scout troop in the township. Following his retirement he was a member of the St. Joseph County Road Commission and served as chairman. He was an active member of Immaculate Conception Church for many years.

Chester and Bernice were a team. Love of family was everything to them. Treating others with respect, compassion and generosity was how they lived their lives and what they instilled in their children and grandchildren. Chet developed friendships of all ages lasting throughout his life. He taught his family what it meant to work hard, to be grateful, to serve others, to value and enjoy life. He traveled with family and friends across the country and to Poland and France. He played many games of cards with his kids and grandkids and enjoyed letting the grandkids win. His favorite color was green—the color of his growing crops and of money. He liked to say, “You get more with sugar than vinegar” and “If only everyone could be as perfect as us.” Always said with a smile and a twinkle in his eye.

Chester was simply a good, good man. He was a wonderful son, brother, husband, father, and grandfather. He loved completely and was loved by all who knew him.

Remaining to cherish his memory are two daughters, Sally (Jeffrey) Middleton of Three Rivers and Joanne (Keith) Dalgleish of Bloomfield Hills; a son, John (Gwen) Dobrowolski of Haslett; seven grandchildren: Alex (Kerry), Collin, and Lucas (Erin) Middleton; Michael (Catherine) and Jack (Joan) Dalgleish; Stephanie (Nathan) Overholser and John (Fernanda) Dobrowolski, Jr.; two step-grandchildren, Amanda Geml and Alex (Anna) Geml; nine great-grandchildren and five step great-grandchildren; many special nieces and nephews.

Chester was preceded in death by his wife, Bernice; an infant son Timothy Joseph; his parents; his brothers Joseph and Wesley Dobrowolski and sister Stephanie Dobrowolski.

Chester’s family wishes to thank the staff of Birch Meadows Senior Care and of Centrica Navigators for their compassionate and loving care of our dear father and grandfather.

Additional Information

Donations in Chester’s memory may be directed to Birch Meadows Senior Care, Centrica Care Navigators (Hospice), Homes For Our Troops, or a charity of one’s choice.

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  1. Today I heard of your loss. May you find comfort in the many memories we all share . Chet was a great, generous neighbor greeting everyone with his big smile. We left The Farm over 20 years ago with fond memories of Chet and your family

    Joann and Jed Fisher

  2. Sally, John, and Joann, please accept my sympathies concerning Chet’s death. I worked for and then with him for many years at Simpson. After his retirement we kept in touch until he entered Hospice, Chet was widely known and admired for his many good qualities and values. He consistently demonstrated them over the years. He treated all people with integrity, dignity, and respect. He always did the right thing, because he believed that was the best thing to do. I will greatly miss him.

  3. My sincere condolences to Chet’s family. I enjoyed the times I visited Chet and Bernice. This is a sad time that we all have to grieve in one way or another. May Chet’s next journey be with Bernice and May his family find comfort in the memory of Chet and Bernice.❤️

  4. Chet was the best of the best. Patient and caring is how I remember him from the first time I met him to the last time we spoke. I worked for him at Simpson Paper during the summer while attending college. He was well liked.
    I’d occasionally run into him throughout the years and he never changed, always the same smile and good nature.
    My sincere sympathy to the family, he was proud of you all. RIP

  5. My deepest condolences to all that loved him. I worked for Chet for many years at the mill and eventually filled his position years after he retired. He was a great boss and taught me well, I learned a lot from him. He was a good man. Gods speed Chet

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