James M. Lester of Seward passed away on the evening of Sunday, August 4, 2019, in Belleville, Ill. surrounded by family. After months of earnest rehabilitation following a severe stroke, Jim has been welcomed into the afterlife by his wife Cathy (nee Thornton), daughter Sarah, infant son Michael, and brother David Lester.
Jim was born in Exeter, New Hampshire on July 11, 1949, to Jeanette Miksch and Francis Lester. He will live on through his children Nick (Tanya) Lester, Katie Lester, Carolyn (Erwin) Fraterman, granddaughters Emma and Gracie Lester, honorary grandchildren Ella Holland and Oliver Hennenfent, his mother Jeanette Miksch, siblings Gary (Teri) Lester, Phil (Ellen) Lester, Jane (Fred [deceased]) Kriwinski, Susie ( Arthur [deceased]) Laferte, his wife's siblings David Thornton, Michael Thornton, Barbara (Rick) VanDeusen, Sue (Roger) Moritz, Margaret "Peg" (Steve) Knotts, his step-children, Nancy Brassard, Dennis Robichaud, Michelin Philbrick, Heidi Klocek [deceased], Cheryl Bolton as well as numerous extended family and friends.
Jim lived his life full of humor, conviction, and genuine compassion. He was an entrepreneur who found success in real estate and took great pride in helping families become first-time homeowners. Jim measured his success in life by the happiness of those important to him. He filled his days with country music and the open road; always traveling to help others, be it friends, family, or strangers. He reminisced about the multi-colored leaves of New England in the fall and was constantly stirring fits of laughter from his grandchildren. Jim was devoted to establishing a Veteran's program that would provide job training and expand opportunity for Veterans struggling with PTSD and re-assimilation.
In place of flowers, please donate in his name to the George E. Hilgard Post #58, American Legion, "Freedom Farm" or The Wounded Warrior Project. There will be a service for Jim later this year in Northern California. Also, a testament to his memory will be laid to rest alongside his wife and daughter in St. Joseph's Cemetery in Freeburg, Ill. We are curating anecdotes and stories of Jim, if you wish to share, please email InMemoryOfJimLester@gmail.com.