Anne Alexander Lester died on Easter Day, April 1, 2018 at Canterbury Court in northeast Atlanta, following a short illness. She would have been 94 years-old at the end of April. She was predeceased by her beloved husband and partner William C. ("Bill") Lester four years before, and they shared nearly 61 years of marriage together. Anne's life was characterized by a love for her family, gracious hospitality, commitment to her church, an appreciation for music and musicians, and a passion for music education.
A native of Milan, Tennessee, Anne was a graduate of Christian College (now Columbia College) in Columbia, Missouri, and Louisiana State University, graduating from LSU with a bachelor of music degree in piano. After her marriage to Bill, they lived in Schenectady, New York, Charlotte, North Carolina (twice), Richmond, Virginia, Atlanta, Georgia, and Cleveland, Ohio, before retiring to Atlanta nearly 35 years ago. Wherever they lived, Anne could be counted on to make lasting friendships, sing in her church choir, and serve in leadership positions with the local music and arts groups.
Anne served as President or Vice President of the Women's Associations of the Richmond, Charlotte, and Cleveland Symphony Orchestras. In Atlanta, she served as President of the Symphony Associates of the Atlanta Symphony and as a member of the Board of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. She also served as President of the Friends of Music at Emory University, President of the Georgian Chamber Players, and served on the boards of the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Atlanta Opera Guild. Throughout her life, Anne had a particular passion for supporting young musicians, bringing public school students to symphony concerts, and promoting outreach by orchestra musicians in the schools. Most recently, she was proud to serve on the board of Franklin Pond Chamber Music.
Anne treasured her experience of singing with Robert Shaw and others at Tanglewood in the 1950s and thoroughly enjoyed singing with the Atlanta Symphony Chorus under the direction of Robert Shaw when she returned to Atlanta. Except for a short time when she was "on loan" to the Presbyterians in Cleveland, Anne was a lifelong Methodist, and was a long-term member of Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Atlanta. She sang in the choir for many years, and served as member and chair of the Music and Arts Council at the church. Anne was always an avid reader and an enthusiastic follower of Duke and ACC basketball, attending nearly 50 ACC basketball tournaments with Bill.
Anne is survived by her brother, Dr. C. Vinson Alexander, Jr. (Mary Alexander) of Jackson, Tennessee, two children, Rev. Dr. W. Carter Lester, Jr. (Rev. Karen Pidcock-Lester) of Pottstown, PA and Anne Lester Barge (Rev. Kelly Barge) of Atlanta, seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
Her memorial service will take place at 2 p.m. on Friday, April 6, 2018 at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, Rev. Bill Britt officiating. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Anne's memory to Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Georgian Chamber Players, or Franklin Pond Chamber Music.
Lester, Alexander, Anne