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Charles Culver Kestner

April 17, 2019

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Charles Culver Kestner, a private first class in the Army, civil engineer, mason, husband, father, and friend, passed away on April 26, 2019 at home in Sweet Briar, Va. at the age of 94.

“Chuck”, as he was known to his family and friends, was born in December 1924 in Meadowview, to parents Charles Wiley Kestner and Effie Elizabeth Bishop Kestner.  As a young adult, he earned the rank of Eagle Scout and was inducted into the Order of the Arrow because of his exemplary service and leadership.  Shortly after, Chuck joined the US Army and shipped off to England to serve in WWII.  Returning stateside after the War, Chuck earned a civil engineering degree at Virginia Tech and married Lois “Maxine” Gray.  They raised two daughters, Mary “Elizabeth” and Valerie.  After Maxine’s passing, Chuck married Bonnie Kay Jackson in 1979 and they raised two children, Charles Wiley Kestner II and Kristen Anne Kestner Maddux.

Chuck was a devoted husband and father who worked hard to provide for his family.  He was an accomplished civil engineer who first served as the City Engineer for Harrisonburg and later as a field, office and structural engineer for the Portland Cement Association.  From 1968-1990 he served as the Director of Buildings, Planning and Construction for Sweet Briar College. There he designed and oversaw the construction of many buildings and structures including the Rogers Riding Center, the Prothro Natatorium and the Columbarium.  Additionally, he designed the frame that holds the bell in the Quad Bell Tower and engineered the move of the Sweet Briar train station from across Route 29 to its present location on campus.  Chuck was known by all for his gregarious nature, his helpfulness, and his generosity. He attended St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Clifford, Va.

Chuck is preceded in death by his parents, his brothers Daniel Richard Kestner and David George Kestner, and his first wife Maxine.  He is survived by his second wife, Bonnie; children, Elizabeth, Valerie, Wiley, and Kristen; grandchildren, Rebecca, Daniel, Seth, and Jonathan; and great-grandchildren, Ashira, Hillel, Ohevya, Eitan, Gavriella, and Atara.

A graveside service with military honors will be held at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Forest, on Wednesday, May 1 at 11 a.m.  A memorial service to celebrate Chuck’s life will also be held at Sweet Briar Memorial Chapel on Saturday, May 4 at 2 p.m. with a reception following.  All are welcome to attend both services.  Memorial donations may be made in Chuck’s name to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church or Sweet Briar College – Physical Plant.


Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Lynchburg, is assisting the family.

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