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The Wisconsin arborist community lost a great mentor, advocate and friend in Chester Ziemienski who passed away on January 2, 2020. He was 95 years old.

Chester was passionate about quality tree care in our Milwaukee neighborhoods and surrounding communities. A native of Milwaukee, he graduated Boys Tech High School (now Bradley Tech High School) and went on to earn a degree in forestry from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. After college, Chester recognized a need to provide professional tree care services to businesses and residential customers, so he returned to the area and in 1950 launched City Tree Service in Milwaukee.

Now known as American Tree Experts in New Berlin, Chester’s oldest son, Jesse, took over in 1989 as president. Jesse’s son, Dean, has been with the company since 2007 and is poised for future leadership.

“Arboriculture is a wonderful profession,” says Jesse Ziemienski. “My father, Chester, taught and inspired me to continue his good work in caring for our urban forest. My son, Dean, continues that family tradition and will someday take over American Tree Experts.”

In addition to his lifelong work as an arborist and business owner, Chester loved to fish, travel and garden.  Some considered him a bit of a Renaissance man because he dabbled in oil painting, wood carving, playing flamenco music on his guitar and photography.

His children remember him as a kind and gentle man, who enjoyed family trips with his wife, Marian, three sons and two daughters.

“(My dad) was always so easy going and fun to be around,” recalls his daughter, Linda Britz. “I loved traveling with him to Florida, and to the East Coast where we saw the fall foliage and many other interesting sites. He was a hard worker, a good husband and a wonderful father.”

“My favorite memories (with dad) are the camping trips,” says his daughter, Mary Bickford. “He took all five of us, plus Mom, out to Yellowstone in a Ford station wagon. We camped all the way, except the last night when we stayed in a motel. He also took us on a trip to the Boundary Waters, canoeing and camping all the way. My dad was a great father, always giving of himself.”

Thank you, Chester, for your professional commitment to trees and their care. You have left an incredible legacy.

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” – Nelson Henderson