Sep. 26, 1921- Sep. 10, 2012
Chester Charles Woodburn, Jr. was born September 26, 1921 in Des Moines, Iowa, the second son of Chester Charles and Katharine Coville Woodburn and died peacefully in Des Moines at Wesley Acres on September 10, 2012. He attended elementary school in Des Moines at Perkins, Jr. High at Callanan and graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1939. In the fall of 1939, he enrolled at Iowa State in Ames, Iowa where he received his B.S. Degree. He received his Doctor of Medicine Degree in 1946 from The University of Iowa when he was also commissioned a Lieutenant in the United States Navy.
His internship was with the US Naval Hospital at Charleston, S.C. from 1946 to 1947. He had Pacific Duty from 1947 to 1949 at the US Naval Dispensary on the Island of Guam. When he returned to the States in 1949, he accepted a Fellowship in Otolaryngology at the Cleveland Clinic and completed his final year of training at The University of Iowa. He received his certification as a Member of The American Academy of Otolaryngology in 1952 and began his practice in Des Moines.
In 1953, he took a post-graduate course in plastic surgery at Manhattan General Hospital in New York as well as additional training for treatment of complex facial bone fractures. He performed the first stapedectomy in Des Moines which restored hearing in patients suffering from certain types of hearing loss. In 1961, Des Moines Register Staff Photographer, Jack Brinton, won a journalism prize for his article and photographs of Dr. Woodburn performing this surgery under local anesthesia with the quote from the patient being, “I can hear you!”
After he had treated many severely injured patients as the result of accidents, especially new teen drivers, he compiled picture slides of demolished cars and patients with complex, sometimes life-threatening wounds and made his slide presentation at high schools around the state, emphasizing the dangers of speed, recklessness, and lack of caution and what could happen behind the wheel. There were very few times during a session when at least one student didn’t faint. For many years, he continued to hear from young adults who watched and listened, with words of gratitude and appreciation for this provocative presentation.
Chester was very active in the community. He had been a deacon at his church, a long-time Rotary Club member, a former President of The Wakonda Club and an avid Iowa Hawkeye fan. He enjoyed traveling with family and friends and was an avid golfer, gardener and talented artist, truly a renaissance man.
Dr. Woodburn was also a past President of the Iowa Academy of Otolaryngology, and a member of the American Medical Association, Iowa Medical Society and Polk County Medical Society.
On his birthday, September 26, 1944, he married Luella Swanson of Red Oak, Iowa whom he met at The University of Iowa. They were five months short of celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary when Luella passed away in 1994. Their children are: Stephanie Hill (Nolan), of Pinehurst, N.C., Chester Charles, III (Rebecca), Des Moines, Deborah Mott (Art Albanez), Richmond, Virginia, and Linda Craig (David) of West Des Moines. He is survived by his brother, Dr. Boynton T. Woodburn (Loma) of Green Valley, Arizona, and was predeceased by his brothers, Coville and William.
Also, proudly adding to his loving family are grandchildren Emily Leder (John), West Des Moines, Claire Pierce (Matt), West Des Moines, James Mott, London, England, Emmy Mott (Joey), Richmond, Virginia, Patrick Mott (Leigh), Chicago, Steven Craig, M.D. (Liz), Waukee, and Rebecca Craig, M.D. (Bryan), Iowa City, as well as 12 great-grandchildren.
In 1999, he married Ruby Hanson, who survives him, mother of his daughter-in-law, Rebecca Woodburn, and a beautiful relationship was formed with the strong love and admiration they found in this union.
A memorial service will be held on September 26, 2012, at 11:00 a.m., at Plymouth Congregational Church in Des Moines. A memorial gathering will be held from 5-7:00 p.m., Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at Iles Funeral Homes – Dunn’s Chapel. Memorials may be made to the Wesley Acres Foundation or Plymouth Congregational Church.
ARRANGEMENTS BY ILES FUNERAL HOMES ~ DUNN’S CHAPEL.Information provided by: Iles Funeral Homes Dunn’s Chapel 2121 Grand Ave Des Moines, IA 50312 www.ilesfuneralhomes.com