On Thursday, July 22, 2021, Josh passed away peacefully in his Sacramento apartment after a short battle with that nefarious criminal named cancer and dementia. His daughter, Tema, and Ellie, his caregiver, were at his bedside.
Josh is survived by: his daughter, Tema, of Sacramento; her twin daughters, Shira & Alyssa, of Southern California; son, Les (Carol) of N. Flagler Beach, FL; preceded in death by his beloved sister, Mary; was formerly married to Arlene, the mother of his children; & many friends. Josh and his mother traveled to Ellis Island together to meet up with his father already in the US. Josh’s father was a baker. His mother was a seamstress. Josh’s son, Les, before he retired, was a Captain for American Airlines and a CNN Aviation Analyst. His daughter, Tema, was the CEO for FPSIE (Foundation for Pool and Spa Industry Education), also an entrepreneur for her 900k company, and presently works in Training and Development for PG&E. His granddaughter, Alyssa, is an aspiring actress, singer, and dancer attending college at CSUF, while his other granddaughter, Shira, is an aspiring photographer with a business minor attending college at ULV. Arlene, Josh’s former wife, is a professional sculptor and welder.
Josh was a WWII survivor, fighting in the 1253rd Engineers Combat Battalion Army, crossed the Rhine River on the Remagen Bridge. Josh had many pictures of himself and other soldiers, his military green jacket with his medals and awards decorating it, and his WWII, 1941-45 baseball cap. He got to be in the presence of Field Marshall Barnard L. Montgomery, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, General George S. Patton, Jr, and General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Before moving to California, Josh was a New Yorker, he received a BA Degree in Architecture & Product Design from the Historic Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, NYC. Josh also attended Stanford University where he received a BA in Mechanical Engineering. He was the former Vice President of Smith Corona typewriters and later the entrepreneur owner of “Innovation America”. Josh was known as an innovation pioneer. His model was: “INNOVATION IS SURVIVAL…SURVIVAL… IS NOT OPTIONAL.” He proudly wore his Cooper Union and Stanford University t-shirts up until he passed.
Josh’s apartment was a museum created by his daughter (his words), filled with all kinds of mementos from various eras of his life. He was an avid skier, learning to ski in Switzerland and volunteering for the non-profit, National Ski Patrol. In the beginning, he and his family skied at East Hill in Camillus, New York. They graduated to Song Mountain in central Tully, N Y. and enjoyed the amenities of a private membership with the resort’s Thunderbird Club. Josh was also an avid sailboat racer. He had his own sailboat he named “TO LIFE”. His family were members of Red Jacket Yacht Club on Cayuga Lake. Josh sailed to Tahiti, the Caribbean and around Florida. Josh loved dancing the waltz, tango, cha, cha, cha, with the ladies! Before Covid, Josh went to dances almost every weekend. Until a few months before his death, Josh was seen taking walks and riding his bicycle. His mantra (thanks to Joy) was, “I’M NOT 97 – I’M 18 WITH 79 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE!”
Josh played the harmonica by ear. He could play any tune just by hearing it once. He played it just before he passed and also gave his favorite “yodel” down the ski slope. One of Josh’s favorite possessions was his radio. He listened to it more than he watched TV. His favorite station was a classical & jazz station from Sac State where Tema graduated from. He would say, “I don’t know where I’m going, but the radio is coming with me.” Josh was big on knives and always had one in his pocket which he could do anything with; open his mail, pick up things, tighten a loose screw, etc. He had a cane with a duck head handle that he took everywhere, and he lost it many times. Somehow, the cane always made its way back to him. Josh was a cat person. Tema engaged Front Street Volunteers who brought him kittens to pet during his last week with us. His face would light up every time they came. Josh always wanted to know what was going on, always taking notes and loved his “Things to do Today” message board in his apartment that Ellie would fill in for him. Josh had an ongoing comedy with his caregiver, Ellie, over a picture of a sailboat he wanted to hang in his room, but Ellie knew it belonged in the bathroom. She would move it back to the bathroom when he wasn’t looking, he would put it back in the room, and so the tug-of-war for “control” and independence. Josh couldn’t see out of his left eye. It would annoy him, so Tema’s boyfriend, Larry, made Josh an eyepatch, making Josh the trusty pirate! Something Josh wanted to do since moving so close to California’s State Capital, was to visit Governor Newsom. He never quite made it to his office, but he did attend a Jewish rally there with Tema. Josh often went to his favorite eatery, The University of Beer. When he became in touch with his inner self and dying, he asked us to play, “Danny Boy” for him and his son.
On the morning of his death, as he took his last breath, Tema laid his mother’s handmade robe on him and told him it was okay to let go. Josh left his “museum” to join his mother, father & beloved sister. He will be forever in our hearts.
Jewish Ceremony for Chester Joshua Abend Friday, November 12, 2021
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