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John "Jack" M. Lester
August 19, 1935 ~ January 25, 2024 (age 88) 88 Years Old
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On January 25th, 2024, John “Jack” M. Lester of Columbia, CT passed peacefully into the arms of his Lord and Savior. Jack joined his beautiful wife of 67 years, Phyllis, in Heaven. She had predeceased him only 19 weeks prior.
Jack was born in Willimantic, CT on August 19th, 1935, to the late Harold P. and Lillian (Sullivan) Lester. He attended St. Joseph’s parochial school. At Windham High School, he was class president Junior year and voted most helpful and most popular for the class of 1954. In 1956, he married his high school sweetheart, Phyllis. He worked at Pratt & Whitney for 36 years – starting as an apprentice and retired at 56 as a General Foreman. He was also an Army veteran. Jack had many skills and could fix or build anything. While working full time on 2nd shift, he built his home in Columbia for his growing family. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather. In retirement, he and Phyllis enjoyed many years snow birding in Florida. He loved to travel and especially enjoyed historic sites and forts.
Jack kept his calendar busy and had many joys in life - he was a communicant of St Columba Church for 62 years attending both weekly and daily masses. He was active in Altar serving and devoted to bringing the Eucharist to the homebound on First Fridays. Throughout the years he was active with Catholic Charities, the Annual Bishops Appeal, and the Church Council at St Columba.
Jack’s faith, family and longstanding friendships were the cornerstones of his life. He was a member of The Roy’s Boys and looked forward to monthly breakfasts with his buddies. He was a former member of the Elks and the Irish Club of Willimantic. Over the years he took great pleasure helping to coordinate many class reunions. He enjoyed making those around him laugh and could be found wearing newspaper-worthy patriotic outfits at the annual 4th of July parade. He was an avid fan of the UCONN Women’s Basketball team and if the girls weren’t playing you could bet, a John Wayne Western was on the TV.
Jack will be remembered every day and greatly missed by his children: Michael Lester & his wife Colleen, Nancy Clapp & her husband David, Suzanne Lester, Patrick Lester, and Amy Lester. Grandchildren: Katie Lester & her partner Joshua Frankel, Amanda Albert & her husband Andrew Albert, Ryan Lester & his partner Gillian Weeks, and Dr. Andrea Clapp & her husband Michael Daly. He was lovingly called Pop Pop by his great grandchildren. Jack also leaves a sister Susan Humes & her husband Brad of Willimantic, CT, a sister-in-law Norma Keegan of Columbia, CT, and a brother-in-law Dr. John Lis of Ithaca, NY and their families.
Jack wished to be buried out of his childhood parish. A funeral mass will be held at St Joseph Church, 99 Jackson St Willimantic, CT on Wednesday January 31st at 11 am. Burial will follow at Saint Joseph Cemetery on Club Rd in Willimantic. There will be no calling hours. In lieu of flowers, charitable donations may be made to the Saint Columba Church Lighting Fund.