The Alabama High School Athletic Association is saddened to learn of the passing of Coach J. D. Chesteen of Hartford on Friday, Dec. 19. Mr. Chesteen, 87, is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Myra Smith Chesteen.
Funeral arrangements include family visitation at Hartford Baptist Church from 12 noon to 2 p.m. Monday, December 22. The funeral service will follow at 2 p.m. at the church with interment following at Hartford City Cemetery. Sorrells Funeral Home of Slocomb, will be officiating.
Coach Chesteen was recently selected to be inducted into the AHSAA Sports Hall of Fame in the Class of 2015 in March. The veteran high school football coach graduated from Brantley High School, and after a stint in the U.S. Air Force, he graduated from Troy University with a degree in education. He began coaching in 1951 at Samson High School.
Coach Chesteen, 86-64-6 as a head football coach for 16 seasons, totaled 38 years and nine months as a teacher and coach in the Geneva County School system with tenures at Samson, Coffee Springs and Geneva County high schools. He served as a teacher and coach at Geneva County from 1961 until his retirement in 1988.
He coached three teams to the Peanut Bowl, one to the Lions Bowl and had teams win the South Alabama Conference 2A Championship twice. He served as president of the South Alabama Conference in 1964, was elected vice president of the AHSADCA in 1962 and president in 1963. He was head coach of the South All-Stars in the 1963 North-South Game and inducted into the Wiregrass Sports Hall of Fame in 1994. He was a long-time member of Hartford Baptist Church where he served as Sunday School teacher of Baracca Men's Class, deacon and was awarded Deacon Emeritus.
His son Donnie Chesteen followed his dad into high school coaching most recently serving as a teacher/coach at Geneva High School.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Hartford Baptist Church, 105 E. Burch Street, Hartford, AL. 36344.