Leta Mae Anderson Lester, 86, of Forest died Oct. 25, 2012 in Forest. She was the youngest child of the Reece Campbell Anderson and Flora Bowling Anderson of Bluefield and the wife of the late John C. â€œJackâ€ Lester, Jr. In addition to her husband and parents, she was preceded in death by brothers, Robert C. Anderson, John R. Anderson and sister, Eleanor A. Tate. She is survived by five children, 16 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, and one brother, Thomas W. Anderson of Montgomery, AL. Her children include four sons, John C. Lester, III of Forest, Reece A. Lester (Libby) of Dublin, GA, Gregory H. Lester (Sharon) of Forest and Mark T. Lester (Shana) of Forest; one daughter, Leta Beth Lester of Durham, NC; and an â€œadoptedâ€ daughter, Pamela Reynolds of Durham, NC. Leta was born in Bluefield, and graduated from Graham High School. She attended Marion Jr. College, a Lutheran school for girls and received an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts. She was active in sports and other campus activities. In her last year, she served as President of the Student Body Council. Several years after graduation, she was elected President of the Marion College Alumni Association at Roanoke College and remained an active member for many years. During WWII, she worked in Washington, D.C. at the Census Bureau for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Commerce. When the war ended she married 1st Lt. John C. Lester, Jr. in her home church, Immanuel Lutheran, Bluefield, WV in 1946. They were married 60 years. Forest was her home from then until her death. She was an active member of Forest United Methodist Church for 60 years where she served as a teacher of childrenâ€™s and adultâ€™s Sunday school classes. She chaired many committees and served on the Administrative Board. Her love of music resulted in her becoming a dedicated member of the choir, rarely missing practice or Sunday services. Leta was active in the Jefferson Womenâ€™s Club where she served as a Board member, as well as the Christian Womenâ€™s Club of Lynchburg. In addition, she was a substitute teacher in the Forest area schools. As a young child, her mother read her childrenâ€™s stories, poems and the Bible. Robert Lewis Stevens was her favorite author/poet. At age 13 she wrote her first poem entitled â€œThe Rainâ€, which was printed in her local newspaper. Years later, writing became a favorite pastime as reflected in her collection of poems. She often wrote during moments of inspiration while traveling across our beautiful country by motor home with her best friend / husband, Jack. Poems and stories were written for her church, children and grandchildren. Requests often came from friends when a poem was needed for a special occasion. All were obliged with an original composition from her creative pen. The culmination of her writing was the printing of her works entitled LETAâ€™S HOMEMADE POEMS AND PROSE. It was one of her great joys to be asked to read her poems, whether to a group or to a loved one. Her five children were her pride and joy and she often said that the well-worn phrase â€œNever a dull moment!â€ best described her reality. She credited her children with keeping life â€œinterestingâ€ as well as teaching her many of lifeâ€™s most important lessons. She loved the church and Jesus Christ. Having become a Believer and a Bible reader early in life, she rarely missed an opportunity to give God praise for her many blessings. Her wisdom, quick wit and loving heart will be missed by all who were blessed to know her. Special appreciation is extended to those who cared for Leta in the latter months of her life, Gail Wofford, Em Pentecost, and Patty Green. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Forest United Methodist Church, Wounded Warriors, and/or the Forest Fire Dept. and Rescue Squad. Funeral services were conducted 2 pm, Sunday, October 28, 2012, at Forest United Methodist Church with Pastor Bill Burley officiating. Interment followed in St. Stephens Episcopal Church Cemetery. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.tharpfuneralhome.com
. Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Bedford, 540.586.3443, is assisting the family.