|Birth: ||Feb. 7, 1918|
|Death: ||Oct. 3, 2005|
Chester H. Basham saved lives as a World War II veteran and a former Cincinnati Fire Department lieutenant.
Mr. Basham of Western Hills died Oct. 3 at Riverview Community of congestive heart failure. He was 87.
Mr. Basham was born in Louisville in 1918. His family moved to Akron after his father got a job at Goodrich Rubber Co.
The family later owned a farm in Wadsworth, where Mr. Basham worked through his adolescence and after graduating high school.
With America in the midst of the Depression and few jobs available, Mr. Basham enlisted in the Navy in June 1940 and opted to train to be a medical corpsman.
He gave medical attention to soldiers during several World War II battles aboard ship, including the Battle of Savo Island.
Scott Basham of Delhi Township believed his father's service was one of the most dangerous roles to be in during the war.
Basham said he once asked his father if he wore a red cross on his sleeve like they do in war movies. "He said that they didn't, because the enemy would target them first. If a corpsman was killed it would demoralize the troops and prevent injured soldiers' recovery."
Mr. Basham was treating Marines suffering from "Cat fever," a flu epidemic during the war, in Parris Island, S.C., when Pearl Harbor was bombed.
He trained to be a deep-sea diver in the submarine unit, and was one of 12 people out of 500 who qualified. However, the war ended before he could be deployed.
While still in active duty, Mr. Basham served as a drill instructor for Navy medical students at the University of Cincinnati. He finished his active duty in 1945, but continued with the reserves until 1968.
Mr. Basham considered going to medical school, but his first wife, Wanda Basham, Cincinnati's first female police officer, urged him to join the Cincinnati Fire Department.
He graduated from the first paramedic class.
His colleagues had a deep respect for Mr. Basham and believed him to be as smart or smarter than any doctor they knew, said his son. He retired as lieutenant paramedic after a 31-year career.
After his retirement, he managed the Taft Theatre from 1979 to 1985 where he met celebrities like Yul Brenner.
"He was very active," said Basham. "He always had to be doing something."
Indeed, Mr. Basham was active. He volunteered at Christ Hospital and the Red Cross. He served as the district commissioner for the Boy Scouts.
Mr. Basham was a past master at a Masonic Lodge, a past High Priest in the Royal Arch Masons, and a Scottish Rite Captain of the Guards.
"He liked the camaraderie," said Basham. "The fraternity - being part of a band of brothers."
Besides his son, other survivors include his wife, Ethel C. Basham of Western Hills; a son, Howard Basham of New Richmond; a brother, Leonard Basham of Medina, Ohio; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Services have been held.
Memorials: American Heart Association, P.O. Box 634445, Cincinnati, OH 45263-4445
Created by: Tammy Jones-Ashley
Record added: Nov 02, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 12242346