Bowling Green - Hardin Field McChesney, Jr. (Field), age 98, of Bowling Green, Kentucky died Dec. 2, 2019. He had been a long-time resident of Bowling Green for much of his life.
Field was the son of the late H.F. McChesney, Sr. and Mrs. Eugene McCulloch McChesney. He was the widower of Marilyn Linton McChesney, formerly of Russellville, Kentucky.
Field was born on November 2, 1921 in Louisville, Kentucky. He moved to Bowling Green in 1927 when his father took a faculty position at Ogden College. Ogden merged with Western Kentucky State Normal School, (now Western Kentucky University) the following year, and the elder McChesney remained on the Western faculty until his retirement in 1959. Of the father's eight children, six are Western Kentucky graduates.
Field was called into service during World War II. He became a radio operator on a B-17 heavy bomber with the Army Air Corps. The plane was shot down on its tenth mission on February 14, 1945. After bailing out of the burning airplane, Field spent the remainder of the war as a German prisoner.
Field returned to his alma mater following the war and completed his bachelor's degree in 1946. After graduation he worked as a teacher, a child welfare worker, and as a newspaper reporter in Kentucky and Indiana.
He was hired by Kentucky Governor Lawrence W. Wetherby to divert publicity and promotion for the state. These activities continued under Governor Bert T. Combs. When Edward T. Breathitt became governor, Field was his chief administrative assistant for the majority of the Breathitt administration.
In 1968, Field accepted a position in Washington, D.C., working for the second campaign of President Lyndon B. Johnson. When Johnson decided not to pursue re-election, Field remained in Washington for another two decades. He served various positions in the Veterans' Administration including Assistant Director of Public Information. He was the senior assistant to the Chief Benefits Director when he retired in 1988.
He and Marilyn moved back to Frankfort, Kentucky after his retirement and finally back to Bowling Green in 2003. The couple spent part of each year in Santa Fe, New Mexico, until Marilyn's death in 2007.
In 2009, the McChesney family donated 140 acres of land to Western Kentucky University. This land had belonged to Field's father and stepmother and had once been their residence. The donation was made in the name of Field and his four sisters, Mary McChesney Kindell, Eugenia McChesney Birkhead, Elizabeth McChesney Stark, and Marianne McChesney Dugger. The property, located on the Green River in northern Warren County, is now known as the McChesney Field Campus of Western Kentucky University. In October of 2019, groundbreaking ceremonies heralded the construction of a multipurpose pavilion on the McChesney Campus to be named in honor of the eldest of the McChesney family children, Mary McChesney Kindell.
Field is survived by his paternal half-siblings, the Rev. David McChesney of Ocala, Florida; Susan McChesney Jensen of Ocala, Florida; and Maria McChesney Flynn of Mayfield, Kentucky. Three generations of nieces and nephews also survive. There will be no formal memorial services. Field has donated his body to the University of Kentucky Medical School.