Robert M. Cheston Sr., banker, Navy veteran

The Baltimore Sun

Robert M. Cheston Sr., a retired banker and longtime Roland Park resident, died of respiratory failure Jan. 27 at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. He was 87.

Mr. Cheston was born and raised in Philadelphia. He attended William Penn Charter School and graduated in 1939 from Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va.

He attended the University of Virginia until the outbreak of World War II, when he enlisted in the Navy.

Specializing in naval radio intelligence, Mr. Cheston held posts in Washington and the Aleutian Islands, where he read Japanese and German codes.

After being discharged at war's end, Mr. Cheston returned to Philadelphia, where he became an investment banker.

He joined Maryland National Bank in 1946 and was subsequently vice president of personnel and later lending. He managed the bank's London affiliate for four years before retiring from there in 1981.

That same year, Mr. Cheston was named president of First National Bank of Southern Maryland and held that position until the bank was purchased by the First National Bank of Maryland.

After the bank's purchase, he remained as a vice president until retiring a second time in 1987.

The longtime Drohomer Place resident was a member of the Maryland Club, South River Club, Elkridge Club and the Wednesday Club. He was also a member of the Society of Colonial Wars and had served on the board of the Constellation.

Mr. Cheston, a world traveler, also enjoyed playing golf and vacationing in Stone Harbor, N.J.

His wife of 31 years, the former Christina van Starkenborgh-Stachouwer, died in 2000.

Mr. Cheston had been a communicant of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St., where a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Funeral services were held yesterday.

Surviving are two sons, Robert M. Cheston Jr. and James Cheston, both of Harwood; a daughter, Julie C. Duke of Alexandria, Va.; 11 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. An earlier marriage to Frances Abraham ended in divorce.

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