Chester Solomon Haines Jr., 77, of O’Fallon, Ill., entered rest at 8:08 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021, at Methodist Hospital Willowbrook, Houston, Texas.

Chet was born June 20, 1944, in Lewisburg, a son of Elsie (Scholl) Wirth and stepson of John C. Wirth.

Chet was a graduate of Mifflinburg High School and later graduated from Southern Illinois University Carbondale with two bachelor’s in science, and one master’s in science degree.

Chet served in the United States Air Force from 1962-1985 including three tours in Vietnam. He earned the following medals and awards to name a few: Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Combat Readiness Medal, Air Force Good Conduct Medal with five oak leaf clusters, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Item 13-Humanitarian Service Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon with four oak leaf clusters, NCOPME Graduate Ribbon with one oak leaf cluster, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm device, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Later in his career he worked at the Air Mobility Command in Scott AFB, received the Air Force Exemplary Civilian Service award and retired as Deputy Director of Testing and Evaluation for the Department of Defense until 2012.

Chet loved flying airplanes, running, music, and had an appreciation of the finer things. He was a member of the Free & Accepted Masons Lodge 370 in Mifflinburg, a member of the Shriner’s, and the Scottish Rite.

Surviving family are his son, Ricky Haines of Crystal Beach, Fla.; two daughters and sons-in-laws, Rhea and Gary Wildgoose of Houston, Texas and Angel and Michael Crisp of Amherst, Ohio; four granddaughters, Alexis and Hannah Crisp and Lauren and Bailey Wildgoose. Also surviving are three sisters and two brothers-in-law, Sara “Sally” Portzline of Selinsgrove, Beverly and Wayne Nolen of Laurelton and Joyce and Will Hutto of Pineopolis, S.C.; a brother and sister-in-law, James and Barbara Wirth of Selinsgrove; and sister-in-law, Bonnie Wirth of Lewisburg.

He was preceded in death by his mother and stepfather; and brother, David Wirth.

Chet will be entered into Arlington National Cemetery with a date to be determined.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts or donations can be made in his honor to Shriner’s Hospital for Children, 519 Old Orchard Lane, Mifflinburg, PA 17844 or online at

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