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Chester Orbie ""C.O." " Pop"" Hardister
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Birth: Dec. 11, 1894
Macon County
Missouri, USA
Death: Jan. 31, 1969
Sonoma
Sonoma County
California, USA

Chester Orbie Hardister was known by his middle name Orbie and went by the nicknames C.O., Orb, and Pop. He was born on Monday, December 11, 1894 in Macon County Missouri the 8th child and second son of James Hardister and Nancy Isabelle "Belle" (Brown) Hardister.

He spent his childhood and early adult years in Narrows, Macon County and Marshall, Saline County areas of Missouri as well as in Kirksville, Adair County, Missouri.

At the age of 22 he was inducted into United States Army on August 4, 1917 and is shown on the roster of Company "C" of the Fourth Missouri which was a part of the 35th Division.

He severed his Country in World War One and fought in the battles of St. Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne. He is listed on page 253 in the book titled "Heroes Of The Argonne An Authentic History of the 35th Division". In error his name is shown as Orbis rather the correct Oribe.

He was honorably discharged at the rank of Sgt. on May 8, 1919 at Camp Funston, Kansas.

After the war he returned to Missouri and on May 10, 1919 he eloped with Marguerite "Maggie" Caroline Wells much to the displeasure of Maggie's parents.

The couple moved to Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana where he and Maggie lived with Orbie's mother Belle and three of his sisters. Their first child was born in 1921 while in residence. Their second child was born in Colorado in 1926.

A family member remembered being told that Orbie was often heard saying while growing up he was not going to end up like his father killing himself working in the coal mines he was going to make a better life for himself.

He developed a great fascination with San Francisco after reading about the 1906 earthquake and fire, and had a great desire to see the Golden Gate.

In 1926 sometime after the birth of their second child he, his wife and two small children moved out to California in search of that better life and settled in San Francisco.

When he arrived in California he worked as a Hod-Carrier, Plaster and finally became one of the few Plastering Contractors in California, but the America's Great Depression which began in 1929 put an end to the building business. He found himself out of work with a family of four children and a wife to feed.

In order to provide for his family Orbie took his place with hundreds of other work-hungry men in front of the piers in San Francisco for the morning "Shape-Up". "Those were hard days", Orbie stated in an interview for The News Marine Reporter. "Every morning we had to fight for a job. Men were worked like slaves for $.75 per hour, long hours a day. It was a fight for survival of the fittest and strongest."

He was involved in the 1934 Longshoreman strike. In the same interview, Orbie stated he fought scabs and police with the rest of the Longshoreman and is proud of it. "I was arrested in front of the Ferry Building for dumping a scab and spent some time in the can before the union got me out." He said with a grin.

Orbie continued to fight for what he considered his right to decent job at decent pay. He worked on the San Francisco Waterfront and held very Longshoreman job classification except that of a walk-in boss.

He was highly respected by his fellow Longshoremen and was known by all as "Pop". In the 1954 movie "On the Waterfront" starring Marlon Brando there is a brief statement made something along the lines of, "this is for Pop" this is a reference to Chester Orbie.

He was Vice President of the San Francisco Longshoremen Local 10 and was instrumental in the negotiations with the Pacific Maritime Association.

He was also the president of the Maritime Democratic Committee, which played a role in supporting President Truman in his 1948 election, as well as supporting Governor Warren in his re-election, campaign.

During the years he worked as a Longshoreman, he witnessed a great deal of change in better working conditions. The pay rate of $.75 per hour in 1934 increased to the rate of $1.83 per hour in 1946.

In 1936 he and his wife bought a home in Visitation Valley, located at 244 Rio Verde, in Bayshore, San Mateo County, California. This home was located in the area where the Cow Place was later built.

Orbie witnessed the completion of the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge in 1936 and the completion of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge on May 27, 1937. He and his family were among the first to drive across both bridges.

In 1939 Orbie, his wife and seven children attended the Golden Gate International Exposition that took place on Treasure Island.

In approximately 1958, Orbie and Maggie moved to Sonoma, Sonoma County, California where they rented a small house. They remained there until their son's completed the building of their home, which was located just a few miles away.

Although Orbie and Maggie maintained a cordial relationship in the later years of their marriage they chose to live separately. Maggie remained in their home in Sonoma, and Orbie spent extended periods of time with his children.

There is not one of his grandchildren who did not look forward to when it was their turn to have their Grandpa stay with them.

An article written by M. Macfarlane for "The News Marine Reporter" in 1946 described Chester Orbie "Pop" Hardister as a "Muscular, powerfully built man of 52 with a ruddy complexion and the rolling gait of a sailor. The heavy lined jacket and wool shirt he wears at work on the docks accentuate his thick shoulders and chest developed over 20 years of rousting cargo on the San Francisco Waterfront."

This description is well done. He was powerfully built man who did not tolerate disrespect; his very presence alone demanded it of others.

The three most important things in his life were The Lord God, his family and his country.

He was a man of unwavering faith in the Lord; he conducted his life and raised his children according to the Word of God.

He would often be heard quoting scriptures one which I remember is "Honor your Father and Mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you" Exodus 20:12.

One of his favorite verses was John 21:22 Jesus said to him, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? "You follow me."

His favorite chapter in God's Word was 1 Corinthians Chapter 13

His favorite song which he was often heard singing was Higher Ground. "I'm pressing on the upward way, New heights I'm gaining every day; Still praying as I on-ward bound; "Lord plant my feet on higher ground."

Phrases he often said were, "Thank you Jesus" and "When my ship comes in".

He was a man who did not back down from what he believed in. He would stand his ground and would not hesitate to fight for if it became necessary. Yet, he did not encourage violence instead; he encouraged the use of wisdom. I can remember him telling me as a child to "Kill them with kindness" and "You get more fly's with honey".

He enjoyed the outdoors; he loved to hunt and fish. He had a great love for animals and possessed a great amount of knowledge of their medical treatment.

He was a very loving man who treated each of his children and grandchildren with an equal amount of love. He did not give anymore to one than he gave to another. Yet, in the special times it was just the two of you he had a way of making you feel no one was more important than you. When he gave you one of his big, bear hugs you knew there was no place on earth you could feel more loved or safe.

Chester Orbie passed away on Friday, January 31, 1969 in Sonoma, California as result of a heart attack at the age of 74.

At the time of his death, he was survived by his wife of 49 years, six children and 21 grandchildren.

 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  James Henry Hardister (1855 - 1919)
  Nancy Isabelle Brown Hardister (1859 - 1930)
 
 Spouse:
  Marguerite Caroline Wells Hardister (1897 - 1969)
 
 Children:
  Benjamin Henry Hardister (1921 - 2003)*
  Barbara Ruth Hardister Eustice (1926 - 1955)*
  James Wells Hardister (1929 - 1993)*
  Dorothy Rose Hardister (1931 - 1997)*
  Kenneth Arthur Hardister (1935 - 2003)*
 
 Siblings:
  Josie Elma Hardister Knott (1877 - 1962)*
  Rose Ella Hardister Poe (1878 - 1936)*
  Arletta Hardister Close (1882 - 1945)*
  Oscar Harvey Hardister (1884 - 1968)*
  Nora Vena Hardister Baker (1888 - 1973)*
  Lillian Priscilla Hardister (1890 - 1934)*
  John William Hardister (1892 - 1976)*
  Chester Orbie Hardister (1894 - 1969)
  Charles Dewey Hardister (1897 - 1898)*
  Altie Estella Hardister (1901 - 1903)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Napa Valley Memorial Park & Mortuary
Napa
Napa County
California, USA
 
Created by: fianna
Record added: Jul 21, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 73732861
Chester Orbie C.O.  Pop Hardister
Added by: fianna
 
Chester Orbie C.O.  Pop Hardister
Added by: fianna
 
Chester Orbie C.O.  Pop Hardister
Added by: Christie Trapp
 
 
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Until We Meet Again
- Mickey
 Added: Mar. 1, 2014

- Christie Trapp
 Added: Apr. 16, 2013

- Violet
 Added: Jun. 28, 2012
 
 
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