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Chester Darling Veteran
November 16, 2023


Chester Darling of Andover Massachusetts, age 94, passed away peacefully in his home November 16, 2023. Beloved husband, father, grandfather and brother, Chester grew up in Melrose MA, graduated Melrose High School in 1947 and joined the Army. Chester left the Army Air Core in 1950 after completing his service. Chester was successful in business as he studied and put himself through New England School of Law. His calling to the law and service to justice were to define his life for the 53 years that followed his admission to the Massachusetts bar. His practice took him to represent personal injury victims and family law cases, but also to represent a Catholic nun evicted from her convent. In that case, Chester had a scholar translate the medieval French of her contract with her order, and then, convinced his client was in the right, he hired a lawyer in Rome to serve Pope Paul VI. Soon afterward, an attorney representing the Catholic Church reached out and offered to make amends. Chester’s most famous case was his victory in the landmark First Amendment case, Hurley v. GLIB, where the Supreme Court ruled that the government could not compel Catholic organizers of the South Boston, Massachusetts, St. Patrick’s Day Parade to include a contingent of veteran marchers advocating a message not welcomed by the parade’s organizers. The Hurley decision was a unanimous, 9-0, ruling written for the court by Justice David Souter, and it has become one of the most important First Amendment cases, cited in hundreds of rulings in the following three decades. This was one of Chesters most memorable and misunderstood cases of his career. He said he did not fight to have all Gay and Lesbians banned from the parade like many assume but fought to allow the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council to block that specific group under its Constitutional right. Among the reasons the veterans wanted to ban the group was because they were planning to protest another parade and spread a message that did not align with the veterans' message. “They (the Supreme Court Justices) all agreed that judges can’t control People’s speech in public forums” Chester Darling said. “And that is what that case was about-otherwise there wouldn’t be a 9-0." Chester has also defended a Gay and Lesbian group when they were denied a permit to hold a Gay Pride parade in Lawrence MA by the city council. “I was representing Gays and Lesbians long before it was popular and fashionable,” Chester said. There are so many more memorable and notable cases Chester has had over the years it would take volumes to list them all. Chester, in his spare time, enjoyed family get-togethers at his home to watch our great New England teams, golf and fishing, which he enjoyed from Florida to Maine. In his retirement, Chester retreated to the comfort of his family and spent his time spoiling his grandchildren, coaching his children and enjoying the companionship of his wife. Chester is survived by Daphne (Nash) Darling, his beloved wife of 62 years. Two daughters: Carol Darling, and Sandi Darling, three sons: Stephen Darling, Brian Darling and his wife Ivonete, and Evan Darling and his husband David Masher. One sister: Cindy St. Amand, one brother: David St. Amand and his wife Myra. There are three beautiful grandchildren, Julie, Kathleen and Brian, and his best friend, Bill Golden, is considered family. Donations in lieu of flowers can be sent to American Legion Post 8 Andover MA.

Family and friends are invited to attend visiting hours on Saturday, November 25, 2023 from 9:00 am to 11:00 am at Burke-Magliozzi Funeral Home 390 N Main Street, Andover, MA 01810. A funeral service will be held at 11:00 am at the funeral home, burial will follow in West Parish Cemetery. Online condolences may be shared at

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Burke-Magliozzi Funeral Home
390 North Main Street
Andover, MA 01810