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Jack McPhail Chesnutt Jr.

July 06, 1949 ~ May 22, 2020

Jack Chesnutt, Jr. passed away Friday, May 22, 2020.  He was born July 6, 1949, in Melbourne, FL, the son of Jack Chesnutt, Sr. and Sara Joyner Chesnutt. Soon after Jack was born, the family moved to Vero Beach where his father became the manager of the Vero Drive-In and later the Florida Theatre.


In his younger years, Jack was involved with Boy Scouts, earning the rank of Eagle Scout.  Graduating from Vero Beach High School in 1968, he lettered in football and band where he played the tuba.  He went on to earn his A.A. degree from Indian River Community College.


In his early years, Jack worked at the Florida Theatre as an usher and projectionist. Children attending the Saturday Morning Kiddie Shows were thrilled when Bozo the Clown (aka Jack!) made an appearance.  Directing traffic for the Vero Beach Police Department as a teenager led Jack into his law enforcement career.  After high school graduation, he was employed by the City’s Animal Control department and then became an officer with the Vero Beach Police Department.  He retired with the rank of Sergeant after thirty -four years of service with the City of Vero Beach.


After retirement, Jack continued his work with the city as a crossing guard at St. Edward’s Lower School and later with Indian River County as a crossing guard at Glendale Elementary School and at Vero Beach High School.  His physical size was wrapped around a heart that loved children and they loved him in return.  Through all his years of working in public service, he also assisted his wife with their in-home daycare.  The children all knew him as Papa.


Jack was a lifelong member of First Baptist Church, and a member of Sunrise Rotary Club.  He loved fishing, hunting and camping and spending time in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee.  He supported the Miami Dolphins faithfully.


Jack is well-regarded by his friends and fellow officers.  As one remembered, “He always wanted to be a cop, and he was known for being a ‘cop’s – cop.’  Jack was an institution around Vero.  ALWAYS at special events and always popular with young and old alike.  Yes, a large man, but HUGE of heart. Known amongst other first responders as the guy you wanted on a volatile scene because he had an uncanny knack for defusing situations…it’s been an honor to work with him.”


Jack was predeceased by his beloved parents.  He is survived by his wife of forty years, Judy Carpenter Chesnutt; their children, Derek (Jonnette) Wingate, Alyson (Eric Kingston) Wingate, and Jack Chesnutt, III; grandchildren Lauren (Jacob) Gil-Fleming, Hayden Grace Chesnutt, and Elaine Wingate, and great-grandchild, Weston Fleming.  Also surviving are his sister Joy (Ken) Kennedy, and brother Fleetwood (Jan) Chesnutt; aunts uncles Bill and Joan Joyner, Palm Bay, FL; Mary Lou Jernigan, Jackson, MS; Cecilia and Johnny Baker, Batesville, AR and many loving nieces and nephews.  He will also be remembered by his lifelong friend, Art Weekes, and by Susan Chesnutt Hess.


The family requests in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Vero Beach Police Foundation, 1055 20th Street, Vero Beach, FL 32960; Indian River Firefighters Benevolent Association, PO Box 1974, Vero Beach, FL 32961; or First Baptist Church, 2206  16th Avenue, Vero Beach, FL 32960.  Our heartfelt thanks to the crew of Station 4, Indian River County Fire Rescue, for their many acts of special care.



Mark Phillips

May 29, 2020, 2:32 pm

I was so sorry to hear of Jack’s passing. I knew Jack since kindergarten and can tell you he was one of the nicest people around. My condolences to his family.

Theresa Simpson

May 29, 2020, 2:58 pm

I knew Officer Chestnut when I
Was younger He was an Amazing
Man & police officer All of us Loved
Him when we were kids.
I still Remember him coming to
The old movie Theater when it was
On 14th ave.
He truly cared about us all.
He’ll Forever be Loved & Missed.
My Love & condolences To his Family!!!❤

Brenda Chesnutt Winters

May 29, 2020, 3:02 pm

havent seen Jack since my dad’s death( his Uncle Bill in 1986). I remember him standing in an intersection ,with traffic stopped,saluting as we went by in the funeral procession. I am so sorry for this time in everyones life. my heart is sad. Just know he is guarding from above now. and will watch over his loved ones.

Tom Walker

May 29, 2020, 3:04 pm

We are very sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers go out to your family.

Tom and Pam Walker

Abbie E Knight

May 29, 2020, 3:41 pm

He was such a good person and will be dearly remembered by all. The Class of 68 lost another good soul. My condolences to his brother and sister and the other loved ones he left behind. Abbie

Tammy Emanuel

May 29, 2020, 4:36 pm

Jack was a kind man to all…RIP
You will be missed dearly by all.
May God take care of your family!!!

Doug DiSomma

May 29, 2020, 6:03 pm

Jack was my shift Sgt. for many years. I had the pleasure of working with him during good times and bad. Jack was the consummate professional who truly loved what he did and the citizenry he served. I also know he earned the respect of his fellow workers and citizens alike. If you knew Jack like I did, this would come of no surprise. I bid you farewell “Sarge”, you will be missed.

Charles F Krivan

May 29, 2020, 6:16 pm

One of the good ones
Rest in peace, we loved you

Sharon Rairden Bracci

May 29, 2020, 6:51 pm

Jack was a Gentle Soul and served our community so well.
Truly will be be missed.
Condolences to the Judy and the family.
God has gain another Angel
Sharon Rairden Bracci

William Watford

May 29, 2020, 7:18 pm

I have known Jack for over 50 years, he was a very nice person in school ! I also knew his Father from my childhood from growing up here in Vero . The Saturday Afternoon Movies . always thought the family was super nice ! I was talking to him not long ago at Target and he was the same nice person that he always was . Rest In Peace my friend . Prayers for his Family and Friends !

Jim Kelly

May 29, 2020, 7:26 pm

I remember hiring onto the police department in the spring of 1983, and that’s where I met you. With a long low whistle, I remarked aloud, “Now, that’s an oak tree of a man!” You were my first patrol sergeant and you made this Michigan boy feel right at home within the ranks. Words like courageous, disciplined, loving, strong, kind, and giving; only begin to describe you. But above all else, it is the word – friend – that fits you best. You were with me on midnight shift when I made my first arrest. A hair-brained drunken street-fighter of a woman who had just punched a man on the front steps of that old hotel at 1889 Old Dixie. “Do you need any help, Jimmy?” you asked laughingly while I was literally being thrown around by the monster madam. “No, Sarge, she’s starting to get tired. I’ve got this,” I lied. Timmy Left was there, too. “You don’t have to do it alone, ya know,” you replied back. Yes I did have to do it myself. I had to prove myself to you and Timmy; and we had a really good laugh after I dropped her off at the jail. We had a lot of other great calls together, too. In this job I learned quickly to forget the bad and strive to remember the good. But we used to chill out at dawn behind the Ocean Grill and watch the sunrise, and just talk. That was the best time we shared together. You would tell me of the days of free popcorn at the downtown movie house, and of how you missed the drive-in theatre that had closed. You brought your family to our open house when we put a swimming pool in. Nancy and I got to meet your wonderful wife and kids that day. The last time I spoke with you was a couple of years ago in the morning when you had finishing up as a school crossing guard on 43rd Avenue & Glendale. In only a few moments, you had me laughing over some funny memories we had together. I’m going to miss you, Jack. The world was a better place because you were in it. With deepest condolences to your family, Jim Kelly

Jean briones

May 29, 2020, 7:29 pm

What a great man.I remember when he was at the police dept.when Sam McCall was chief. His heart was of gold to everyone heaven sure got a amazing person in heaven to help with love to all Condolences to his family may you R.I.P.

Rod Morrison

May 29, 2020, 11:40 pm

i have had the honor, as so many others, of knowing Jack since I was a young boy. (Now 65). The comments I have read sum up Jack… Heaven has on its best souls back!

David and Anita George

May 30, 2020, 12:26 am

Our prayers are with all of you. We will miss him. We knew each other for more years than either of us would admit. (Vero Beach JR. High)

David Shapiro

May 30, 2020, 2:13 am

God’s peace and blessings to Jack’s family.
David & Linda Shapiro

Jessica Durkee

May 30, 2020, 3:29 am

How sad to hear of Jack passing. But Heaven has certainly gained another Angel. Jack was such a great guy with a heart of gold. God Bless his wife Judy and family and the Chestnut family RIP Jack

Jessica Durkee

May 30, 2020, 3:31 am

How sad to hear of Jack passing. But Heaven has certainly gained another Angel. Jack was such a great guy with a heart of gold. God Bless his wife Judy and family RIP Jack

Ed Arens

May 30, 2020, 10:28 am

Jack was a wonderful human being. I had the privilege of working with him for many years. A kind hearted person who always was there for his family and the community. We spent many shifts together and too many hours slung up somewhere talking about and trying to solve the world’s problems. He was a mountain of a man who will never be forgotten.

Hugh Wingate

May 30, 2020, 10:52 am

I will miss the wonderful dinners that Jack helped to make each time I visited the states. Those were always a highlight. I want to thank him for being a super stepdad to my children. He was always there for them no matter what as they were growing up and I live in another country. He will surely be missed by all that knew him. Go rest high upon that mountain. Ruhe In Frieden.

Doug Murphy

May 30, 2020, 5:32 pm

I’ve have many fond stories about Jack with him being a police officer and me working the volunteer ambulance squad then as a paramedic. He devoted himself to his career and our community. I’m proud to have concidered him a friend. My prayers to the whole family.

Doug Murphy

May 30, 2020, 5:33 pm

I’ve have many fond stories about Jack with him being a police officer and me working the volunteer ambulance squad then as a paramedic. He devoted himself to his career and our community. I’m proud to have concidered him a friend. My prayers to the whole family.

Jim and Rosie Beindorf

May 30, 2020, 6:02 pm

Jack meant a lot to many of us in Vero Beach. I remember him on the fighting Indians and him scoring a fumble for a touchdown. Jack was a icon at the movie theater when I was growing up! He did lots of volunteer work for the Boy Scouts and no one could cook Barbecue Chicken like Jack! My son did not take to strangers but warmed up to Jack from day one when Judy and Jack babysat him. Heaven has received a gentle Angel that we will see in due time. God bless you Jack!

Debbie Gaffney

May 31, 2020, 3:12 am

Jack was such a special person, and I know he will be missed! He was a great neighbor and friend! Love and prayers to Judy and family! We have been sharing memories and stories. Wish we could be there!
Richard and Debbie Gaffney

Debbie and Richard Gaffney

May 31, 2020, 3:14 am

Jack was such a special person, and I know he will be missed! He was a great neighbor and friend! Love and prayers to Judy and family! We have been sharing memories and stories. Wish we could be there!

Lynne George

May 31, 2020, 12:44 pm

The world is a little sadder now and heaven a little brighter. Condolences to the family.

Tom P White

May 31, 2020, 2:02 pm

Jack left us too soon. Our condolences and prayers to his Family. Knowing & working with Jack since the early 70’s will always be remembered.. Blessed are
The peace makers. He surely will be missed.


June 1, 2020, 1:22 pm

Jack has touched so many lives. He will be missed by many.
-Pam Voyles

Sandy Baker

June 1, 2020, 2:32 pm

Jack was loved by many! We are so sad to hear of his passing and wish you peace, Judy. The Chesnutts hold a dear place in our hearts! Love – Sandy Baker, Grace McMahon, and Jack McMahon

Joseph DelTufo

June 2, 2020, 8:21 am

I am so sorry to hear of Jacks passing.My love and prayers I send to the family.He was a very kind soul.

Liane and Bill McMullen

June 6, 2020, 11:06 pm

We were so sorry to hear about Jack. He was such a kind and loving person. He touched so many lives with his gentle, caring spirit.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this time.

~Liane and Bill McMullen

Paula (Callahan) Murariu

June 22, 2020, 10:28 pm

So sorry to learn Jack has gone to be with our Lord. I am sure Davd had a “welcome aboard” said and they have boy scout things to talk about right away.
We all grew up together and will always remember Jacky as we called him then was so patient and kind with the younger kids.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and the family. Yes it seems to soon.

Michelle Bechtold

September 22, 2022, 5:56 pm

I grew up knowing Jack, him and Judy were a part of my childhood and what wonderful memories I will always hold of him and her. Jack was a kind spirited person who cared about people and his community..he was an awesome chauffeur in the beautiful mountains of NC for our family many years ago. I will never forget all our vacations together. He was a great host and loved to be of help if you ever needed it or an ear to listen. He is thought of often and will always have a piece of my heart. May you rest easy Jack with our Lord and Savior until we see each other again..I am sure you, Mom and Justin will be our spiritual guides when our time comes to meet again with the Lord….blessings to all of the family

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