About Chester

Columbia’s Chester Kuttner Foundation was founded by LaVerne Kuttner and Reese Elledge to honor the memory of Chester Kuttner, a great sailor and lover of life.

Chester Kuttner was born in Chicago and lived his entire life within the boundaries of this great city.  He always said that he made his living in advertising but he sailed for a living.

Chester was an athlete for most of his life and sailed in more than 1,500 races in the Chicago area, including 58 consecutive Chicago to Mackinac races.  At the age of 78, the year before he died, Chester won first place in his division in the 1992 Mackinac race with his boat, Kutty’s Ark.

In 1937 he founded Kuttner & Kuttner, Inc., which at the time was one of the oldest privately owned advertising agencies in Chicago.  Chester’s advertising career spanned over five decades and his agency serviced local and national clientele including the original Goldblatt’s Department Stores, Bell Federal Savings, R & M Kaufmann Woman’s Fashions, The Trane Company (formerly General Electric Company, Heating & Cooling Divisions), Red Strip Beer and Iceberg Vodka, to name just a few.

Kuttner was devoted to the City of Chicago and spent many of his early years involved in local politics.  He was one of the founding members of the Independent Voters of Illinois.  He actively worked on the campaigns of Mayor Richard J. Daley, Representative Sidney Yates and Governor Adlai Stevenson.

Chester was a stanch opponent to the federal government’s cost-cutting obsession in public housing construction that lead to the infamous high-rise towers that are still seen in isolated plots throughout the city, and supported the fight for Chicago to open all of its neighborhoods to subsidized families.

A lifetime member of the Columbia Yacht Club, a former commodore of the Island Goats Sailing Society and Director of the Sail Squadron of the Lake Michigan Yachting Association, he was born to sail.

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