Lester August Korte, son of Dewey Henry & Ruth Hinners Korte passed away on December 25, 2020 at Baptist Health (Medical Center) Hospital, Paducah, Ky. Lester was born September 19, 1925, in Massac County.
Graveside services will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 29, 2020 in Zion Evangelical Church Cemetery with Pastor Jim Duncan and Jeff Bremer officiating.
Lester was a dedicated husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and farmer who was willing to help anyone in the community. On June 4, 1948, he married the love of his life – Marie I.E. Korte – at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Massac County. For 69 ½ years they worked together on the farm while raising their sons. Hard work was always in his everyday plans, and a “good day” was any day he was able to work, be outside, operate farm equipment, and enjoy life with others. Lester started farming with a one row walk behind planter pulled by a horse. To make ends meet in the early years, he mowed roads for the county and picked up various other construction-related jobs in the community, one of which was helping build EEI in the early stages of development. He and Marie eventually purchased a Massey-Ferguson 65 tractor from Hinners’ Brothers in 1959, which they used for various chores on the farm.
Over the duration of his 95 years, he witnessed many significant changes and advancements in farming practices and technology. Reflecting on his time in the farming industry, Lester would often reminisce on difficult decisions to start a large swine operation, purchase irrigation equipment, sell corn and soybean seed, and install field tile. What seemed to be risky and uncertain decisions at the time helped he and his family establish the farming operation they have today. While his early days of farming included walking behind a horse-drawn one row planter, his later years of farming painted a picture of him teaching his great-grandsons how to operate the grain cart to “catch corn” from the 12-row combine operated by one of his grandsons. He never retired, because he believed “that’s what old people do.” Even in the last few years of his life, he continued to help on the family farm by mowing roadsides, running the grain cart, and operating the backhoe and excavator. Just a few weeks prior to his passing, he worked alongside his son, grandsons, and great-grandsons on a tiling project.
Lester’s interest in meeting new people and desire to help others led to his decisions to serve in his community on several organizational boards and committees, including: Jefferson School Board, Farmers Home Administration committee, Zion Church Board and building committee, National State Bank Board of Directors, U of I Extension Council, U of I College Advisory Committee, Farm Bureau, Soil & Water District, and Happy Hillbillies 4-H Club Leader. In addition to serving on the boards and committees, he also gave of his talents by helping build the existing Zion Evangelical Church and construct the bleachers in the Jefferson Elementary school gymnasium. While he enjoyed serving on these community boards and helping in various capacities, the most important parts of each recounted project were the people he worked alongside. Whether they were old friends or new friends, he always enjoyed working together in service of others.
Lester enjoyed sharing stories of times when he was young and adventures he experienced through the years. In his early years, cars were not available so he would walk to his neighbors’ homes up to a mile away to visit or help them with farming. He remembered riding the wagon to Metropolis on a toll gravel road that is the present North Avenue. In their later years, Lester and Marie created cherished memories from their travels across the United States with family and friends. When Lester and Marie survived the 2003 F4 tornado that destroyed their first home and entire farmstead, some of those same family and friends helped them rebuild.
Lester is survived by his two sons, Steve (Norma) of Massac County, Larry (Diane) of Virginia, three grandchildren; Darryl (Sheila), Daniel (Tiffany), of Massac County and Debra Korte of Urbana, IL; four great-grandchildren, Jakob, Austin, Logan, and Larkin Korte all of Massac County. He is also survived by one brother Marvin (Mary) Korte of Massac County; 2 sister-in-laws, Florence Henderson and Alberta Verbarg of Massac County and several nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents, his wife Marie; sister Doris (Gilbert) Krueger; sibling-in-laws, Aline (Clifford) Hunerkoch, Blanche (Lindell) Bremer, Dale Verbarg, Bill Henderson.
Memorials may be given in Lester’s name to Zion Evangelical Church Cemetery Fund 1132 Country Club Road, Metropolis, IL 62960 or COPE Food Pantry, P.O. Box 761, Metropolis, IL 62960. Condolences may be left online at www.aikinsfarmer-millerfh.com.
Arrangements are entrusted to Aikins-Farmer-Loftus-McManus Funeral Home.
Pallbearers for the service will be Darryl, Daniel, Jakob, Austin, Logan, and Mark Korte.
Honorary Pallbearers are Bill Graves, John Lewis, and Gary Verbarg.
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Zion UCC Cemetery Fund
1132 Country Club Road, Metropolis IL 62960
COPE Food Pantry
PO Box 761, Metropolis IL 62960