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Rufus E. Lester Jr.


1929 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Rufus E. Lester Jr. Obituary
Rufus Ellington Lester, Jr. of Wellesley, retired United States Army Colonel, passed away peacefully on Saturday, September 2, 2017 at the age of 88, surrounded by his family. He was born in Macon, Georgia on July 23, 1929 to Rufus E. Lester and Sarah D. Lester, and was brother to Dillard Lester. Rufus began a distinguished and highly decorated military career, graduating from high school as an ROTC Cadet Colonel. He went on to earn a Bachelors Degree from Mercer University in Macon followed by a Master of Science from MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts and was a graduate of the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. During his nearly 27 years in the Army, Rufus served his country with honor and commitment. His multitude of assignments included 2 tours of duty in Vietnam; several duty assignments at the Pentagon; 2 in Giessen, Germany and several others within the United States culminating in his assignment as the Commander of the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center in Natick, Massachusetts. Over the course of his military career, Rufus received numerous decorations and commendations, including the Bronze Star, 2 Legion of Merit Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry (2 awards) and the Vietnam Campaign Medal. Following his retirement from the Army, Rufus joined the Stop & Shop Companies as Group Vice President where he remained until his retirement in 1988. Post retirement, he continued his commitment to public service as the Chairman of Americas Second Harvest (now Feeding America), a cause for which he was most passionate and dedicated, and was a consultant to the Food Marketing Institute based in Arlington, Virginia. Rufus was the husband of Martha P. Lester, their love and devotion spanning 65 years. He understood the sacrifices of a military wife and cherished her all the more for it. He was the loving father of Larry Lester and wife, Anna; Kimberly Pallotta and husband, James; Mark Lester and wife, Katherine; Amy Bellido and husband Enrique; and Lori Lester. He was the beloved Grandaddy to Rachel Lester, Christopher Pallotta, Michael Pallotta, Eliza Lester, Patrick Lester, Megan Lester, Claudia Bellido and Alicia Bellido. Rufus was a man of quiet strength, dignity and pride. He believed in education, working hard and strong family values. He kept his family close and could never do enough for those he loved. In his final retirement, his greatest joy came from time spent with his family, trying never to miss his grandchildrens games, Sunday family dinners and yearly family vacations on Nant ucket. He will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia with full military honors. If desired, donations may be made in Rufus honor to Feeding America either online at www.feedingamerica.org/RufusLester or by mail at: Feeding America, Attn: Cheryl Booher, Rufus Lester Memorial, 35 E. Wacker Drive, Suite 2000, Chicago, IL 60601. For online guestbook, gfdoherty.com. Funeral arrangements by George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Home, Wellesley.
Published in The Needham Times from Sept. 7 to Sept. 22, 2017
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