Betty L. Lester, 73, died peacefully in her home at Colee Cove in St. Augustine, Fla., on Jan. 1, 2014. Betty was a devoted mother and loving wife to Bobby Lester, her husband of 55 years. Recently widowed, Betty lost her husband in November 2013.
She is survived by her daughters, Susan Hartley-Hooper and Beverly Cleary; grandchildren, Jody Rigdon Jr. and Jaimee Hartley; and great-grandchildren, Emily Rigdon and Wyatt Clark.
Betty was born Nov. 30, 1940, in the small town of Salerno, Fla., to William J. Long and Ellen Irene Gillard. In 1958, Betty married the love of her life, Bobby Lester and moved to Jacksonville. In addition to raising her children, Betty was actively involved in their school events by participating in the school's PTA's, homeroom mother for many years, and high school band events. She and her husband also taught community evening school classes for making shrimp cast nets, a skill that was learned from her father who was a commercial fisherman in Salerno, Fla.
Betty was a pioneer for women business owners as she started her family business, Betty's Coffee Service, and successfully operated it for more than 20 years in Jacksonville and St. Augustine. At the age of 50, retirement brought Betty and Bobby to St. Augustine's Colee Cove where she enjoyed fishing, shrimping and boating with family and her many friends. Her favorite Saturday morning activity was garage selling. Betty served for more than 15 years in the Colee Cove Fire Department Station 3 as a volunteer firefighter and EMT, responding to hundreds of calls. She was a member of Providence Bible Church at The Outback Crab Shack.
Betty requested no memorial service for her as she recently celebrated her husband's life in November and felt that she was blessed to see most all family and friends at that time. The family plans to memorialize her life with a lasting tribute to both Betty and Bobby at their family home in Colee Cove. Betty will be missed greatly by those who loved and knew her as she touched so many lives in our community. Donations can be sent to Betty's church, Providence Bible Church in St. Augustine, Fla. The family wishes to thank all of those who cared for her during her illness, especially her pastor, Mike Lewis, her close friend Barbara and Haven Hospice of St. Augustine.
Published in St. Augustine Record on Jan. 12, 2014