Obituary of William Chestnut

Obituary Reports the death of an individual, providing an account of the person’s life including their achievements, any controversies in which they were involved, and reminiscences by people who knew them.

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William Chestnut

William (Bill) J. Chestnut, a Mohegan Lake resident, died peacefully in his sleep on Aug. 14 after several months of battling sepsis and kidney failure. He was 71.

Born in the Bronx and raised in Yorktown, he is survived by his loving sister, Linda, who resides in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Bill attended Theil College and graduated from Westchester Community College. He excelled as chief water treatment plant operator for the Department of Environmental Facilities at the Amawalk Water Treatment Plant on Route 35 in Amawalk. He was promoted to supervising plant operator in 1984, and in 1996, he was honored as Employee of the Month by then-county executive Andrew P. O’Rourke.

Because of his intrinsic understanding of the nature of water systems and natural water bodies, Bill devoted his time and knowledge to like-minded organizations. He became director of the Westchester Water Works Conference and was the regional education chairman of the New York section of the American Water Works Association, from which he received a Meritorious Service Award.

As co-chair of Water for People, a volunteer organization that facilitates water projects in Third World countries to protect public health, Bill spent time in Nicaragua bringing potable drinking water to several communities in the early 1970s. Water for People honored Bill in 2002 for his service.

Jovial, personable and known for his warm and loving bear hugs, Bill made friends easily. He was passionate about volunteering, and every year for over two decades he worked tirelessly for the Clearwater Revival Music Festival – first with the kitchen crew and then on the site crew. He cut a familiar figure riding around the festival at Croton Point Park in his golf cart, giving lifts to many famous musicians on their way to perform. He also cooked for large groups at annual Clearwater meetings.

Keeping up to date on the latest cooking techniques, Bill frequently took courses at the Culinary Institute of America and was an avid reader of Cook’s Illustrated. He was certified by the Red Cross and regularly taught first aid to youth and adult organizations.

Music was in his blood. Bill sang in the Walkabout Chorus, first created by singer and songwriter Pete Seeger. Walkabout performed locally, in New York City and annually at the Clearwater Revival Festival. Bill also mastered a wide array of instruments including guitar, banjo, keyboard and lute.

Over the years Bill’s circle of friends grew and many came to know him as a gentle soul, a person who gave generously of himself to loved ones, to his neighborhood and the greater community. He will be missed by all.

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