Most people knew Chester L. Hager as the longtime Fayette County coroner. But Kevin Hager knew the man as a business partner, mentor and father.
Chester L. Hager died Saturday at Hospice Care Center. He was 83.
Mr. Hager was the Fayette County coroner for 32 years, retiring in 1989. During his tenure, he also was a funeral director at Whitehall Funeral Chapel on North Limestone, which he opened in 1957. The Hager family sold the business in 2006.
"More people know him as the county coroner than the funeral director," said Kevin Hager.
Kevin Hager eventually followed his father and entered the family business in 1986. His dad taught him the importance of having a good work ethic along with honesty and integrity. His father was a pleasure to work with, and the two never had any conflicts, Kevin Hager said.
His father was easygoing yet took his work seriously, Kevin Hager said. If he had to notify a family about the death of a loved one, he would visit the family's home rather than give them the bad news over the phone.
"That's the way he operated," Kevin Hager said. "And he really cared about doing the work that he did."
Mr. Hager was a native of Lexington. He was a graduate of the University of Kentucky and the Kentucky School of Mortuary Science.
Besides Kevin Hager, survivors include Mr. Hager's wife, Ann Hager; another son, Chester L. Hager Jr.; a daughter, Brenda Crank; a brother, David Hager; a sister, Ruby Palmer; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at Crestwood Christian Church. Services will follow.