Dr. Chester Masterson, former lawmaker, dies

Published 12:08 pm Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dr. Chester Masterson Sr., a physician for a generation of Vicksburg residents and a former two-term legislator for Warren County, was remembered this morning by family and friends as a family man and a solid lawmaker.

Dr. Masterson died Wednesday at River Region Medical Center. He was 79.

“He was the ultimate father,” Dr. Calvin Masterson, one of two sons, said this morning. “He also told you what he was thinking and put the patients first. In the Legislature, he put the people first. For activities and sports, he was there cheering us on.”

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The elder Masterson was born in Quitman County and graduated from the University of Mississippi, playing semipro baseball for the Memphis Chickasaws during his college years. He received his medical degree from the University of Tennessee in Memphis in 1960, then served in the U.S. Army for two years in Japan in the Medical Corps during the Korean Conflict.

He practiced in Batesville for two years before moving to Vicksburg in 1964 to practice at Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat Clinic with Drs. Alfred Windham and John Ederington.

In 1999, Dr. Masterson ran successfully for a seat in the Mississippi House representing District 54. He was re-elected in 2003.

“Doctor was a good person to serve with,” state Rep. George Flaggs, D-Vicksburg, said this morning. “He was genuine in his service and never had a cross word on any issue. He was very helpful in issues related to health care.”

“We used to ride to the Capitol together,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney, who represented Vicksburg and Warren County in the state Senate at the same time. Masterson ran unsuccessfully for Chaney’s Senate seat in 2007, the same year Chaney won the insurance commissioner race.

“He was a mighty fine guy and didn’t waver,” Chaney said. “He left his mark.”

Masterson was a long-time member of First Baptist Church on Cherry Street, where he taught Sunday school.

In addition to his two sons, Calvin and Chester Masterson Jr. of Tennessee, Dr. Masterson is survived by his wife, Martha Ann Gordon Masterson; two daughters, Cathy Lynn Schultz of Denham Springs, La., and Cindy Busby of Vicksburg; 13 grandchildren; and three brothers.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at First Baptist Church. Visitation will be from 5 until 7 p.m. Friday at the church.

Glenwood Funeral Home has charge of arrangements.