mEEt chEstEr Ward: BrigadiEr
gEnEral and mEdical doctor,
mason sincE 1957
by Michelle Simone
To describe Chester Ward’s career as inspiring is an understatement. An Army brigadier general and Vietnam veteran; director
of public health; and White House physician for Presidents
Nixon and Ford, among a myriad of other prestigious appointments, Ward has demonstrated a lifelong devotion to leadership.
Ward’s dedication commanded respect from his colleagues.
Military officers praised his ability to raise troops’ morale and
the courage he displayed in combat, volunteering to participate
in dangerous missions. White House staff admired his deft navigation of the political landscape, fostering collaboration.
At 81, Ward, a resident of Acacia Creek and member of Siminoff
Daylight Lodge No. 850 and Oroville Lodge No. 103, is still going
strong. He volunteers with the San Francisco Bar Pilots, helping
develop accident-prevention procedures for the pilots who guide
commercial ships through the San Francisco Bay.
Ward traces his ethos of leadership to his Ranger training at
Fort Benning, Ga. The campus’ motto, also the motto of the U.S.
Infantry, is “Follow me.”
“A lot of leadership is teaching. And I like being a men-
tor – educating people, seeing them learn, then watching them
move ahead to surpass what I’ve done,” Ward explains. “Don’t
ask somebody to do something you wouldn’t do yourself, or that
you haven’t done yourself. You gain trust by example during the
training phase so that when you make a decision, it holds.”
In his own words:
WHAT ABOUT MASONRY DO YOU MOST VALUE?
The openness, the helpfulness, the empathy, and the tolerance
that most Masons and the Masonic environment foster. It’s a
Chester Ward sees a Clear ConneCtion bet Ween MasoniC
values and prinCiples and suCCessful leadership.
comfortable group of individuals who are
mutually supportive. It’s the camaraderie I
hang onto the most.
HOW ARE MASONS LEADERS?
Honesty, integrity, and charity are Masonic
principles, but are also the principles of leadership. All Masonic leaders work their way up.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR NEW
As a leader, you need to tell people what the
objective is, not how to get there – what to
do, not how to do it. It’s the old saying: Give
somebody a fish, you feed them for a day;
teach someone to fish and you feed them for
To view a video of California Freemason’s interview
with Chester Ward, view the digital edition of California
Freemason online at freemason.org.