Jim Lester died on Wednesday October 9, 2019, in the comfort of his home, surrounded by his family. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, November 3rd, at 3:00 pm at the First United Methodist Church in Metropolis. Rev. Cockrell and Pastor Shalom Renner will officiate. A visitation will be held from 1:00-3:00 prior to the service.
He is survived by the love of his life and wife of 63 years, Judy Pat; four children: Scott (Terri) Lester of Burleson Texas, Janet (John) Foster of Metropolis, Laurie (David) Glass of Metropolis, and Ann (Mark) Husk of Paducah, Kentucky; 7 grandchildren: Daniel (Desiree) Lester of Glen Rose, Texas, Andrew Lester of Glendale, Arizona, Eli Glass of St. Louis, Missouri, Josiah (Lauren) Husk of Lebanon, New Hampshire, Erin Lester of Burleson, Texas, Quincy Glass of Lexington, Kentucky, and Stephen (Kathleen) Husk of Grand Haven, Michigan; 6 great grandchildren: Alyssa and Kinley Lester, Jethro and Chloe Husk and Samuel and Evelyn Husk; brother-in-law Duane Causie of Auburn, CA; as well as cousins and many nieces and nephews who loved and admired him.
He was born December 12, 1929 in Springfield, Illinois to Gilbert P. Lester and Mary Angela Edwards and was the youngest of 5 children. He was proud of the fact that all 5 siblings are U.S. veterans.
Jim graduated from Tri-City High School in Buffalo Illinois. Upon graduation, he attended Millikin University in Decatur receiving a bachelor's degree in Industrial Arts in 1951. While there he was Senior class president and member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Jim was a gifted runner, participating on the track team all 4 years at Millikin, two of which he was Captain. His speed allowed him to set school records in the 440, 220, and mile relay. In 2002 he was inducted into the Millikin Hall of fame.
Following graduation from college, Jim served as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Marines for 2 years as Logistics Coordinator while stationed in Japan and Hawaii.
Jim worked at Bemis Corporation in Peoria, Il from 1953-1965. It was there he met his future mother-in-law who introduced him to Judy. He later worked at Laidlaw Corporation, which upon relocation brought his family to Metropolis, his beloved home since 1973. When he retired in 1994, his retirement gift was a tandem bicycle, which he and wife Judy rode away together on his last day of work.
His passion for bicycling led to the goal of riding in all 50 states which they completed by their 50th anniversary. To celebrate his 70th birthday, Jim rode 70 miles on the Tunnel Hill Trail.
Being concerned about the education of students, Jim served on school boards for Robein in East Peoria, Metropolis High School, and Massac County Unit 1.
Jim enjoyed serving in the community most notably as a driver for the Boy Scout paper drive. He also assisted Judy in many of her volunteer opportunities. For 25 years, he enjoyed helping his daughter during the annual Superman Road Race for which he developed his own method of posting results.
Whether eating a sonic corn dog at lunch or catching a full moon rise, Jim enjoyed frequent trips to the riverfront with his wife, just to “watch the river go by”.
Jim was a skilled craftsman, constructing a canoe from a kit as a teen, building a sailboat, and creating and building multiple swing sets for grandchildren and then furniture as they grew older. He also did remodeling for family members. When his children were young, he built child seats for his bike, allowing him to carry two at a time in order for the family to ride together.
As a lifelong and devout member of the United Methodist Church, Jim was a true servant for the Lord in many areas in both his Peoria and Metropolis church homes. He raised his children with a love for God, teaching them more by the life he lived than by the words he spoke.
Jim passed along his love for the outdoors to his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He spent many hours sailing, canoeing, biking and hiking. He especially enjoyed the numerous trails and natural areas within the Shawnee Forest. In the past several years, he and Judy regularly rode the bike trail at Fort Massac and did so year round which helped to keep his body strong during his battle with Parkinsons, even riding the day before his fall which led to his decline.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by all 4 siblings: Marjorie Renner, Janet Lester, Edith Causie and George Lester and 3 nephews.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Jim’s name to Weekend Blessings c/o First United Methodist Church, 100 East 5th Street, Metropolis, Illinois 62960 or Friends of Ft. Massac, c/o Mike Korte, 308 Oak Drive, Metropolis, Illinois 62960.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Miller-Loftus-McManus Funeral Home. Online condolences may be left at www.aikinsfarmer-millerfh.com.
To send flowers to James' family, please visit our floral section.
Weekend Blessings c/o First United Methodist Church
100 E. 5th Street, Metropolis IL 62960
Friends Of Ft. Massac c/o Mike Korte
308 Oak Drive, Metropolis IL 62960