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Lester Alvis

1926 - 2019
Lester Alvis Obituary
Lester Alvis

Jackson - Lester Alvis, beloved husband, father, and grandfather, died in Jackson on November 30, 2019, after a brief illness. He was 93.

Albert Lester Alvis, Jr. was born in 1926 in Yazoo City and moved with his family to Jackson during the Great Depression. Lester was educated in the Jackson Public Schools, and graduated from Central High School in 1943 before serving in the United States Army until the end of World War II.

Following his military service, Lester returned to Jackson to enroll at Millsaps College, where he played baseball for the Majors and earned his bachelor's degree in 1949. Lester then worked as a portrait and wedding photographer while he attended the Jackson School of Law at night. He earned his law degree and was admitted to the Mississippi Bar in 1952, though he spent almost his entire professional life working in the investments field in Jackson, first in his father's firm, Alvis & Company, and then in banking.

After law school, Lester worked in Natchez, where he developed an affinity for motorboat racing. During this time, Lester met the love of his life, Minnie Louise Farlow. Meeting Minnie was the best thing that ever happened to him. Soon after, Lester sold his race boat and bought an engagement ring. Lester and Minnie married in 1958, and they were blessed with nearly 58 years of happy marriage until Minnie's death in 2015. Together, Lester and Minnie built a fulfilling life in Jackson, in which they derived much contentment from their contributions to church and community, and from decades of memories with their many friends.

Lester and Minnie were longtime members of St. James' Episcopal Church, where Lester served as senior warden. Lester chaired the Standing Committee on Finance of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi from 1973 to 1978. Lester and Minnie later joined St. Stephen's Anglican Church, where they remained faithful communicants for the rest of their lives. Lester was also a longstanding member of the Jackson Central Lions Club, and he served as its president.

After retiring from Sunburst Bank in 1991, Lester pursued his hobbies with great enthusiasm. Like Minnie, Lester was an avid bridge player, and his ability held with age. He won the high point total the last game he played, just days before his death. True to his dry wit, which endeared him to his friends, Lester liked to blame the occasional poor bridge performance on bad cards or bad partners or some combination thereof.

An accomplished photographer, Lester enjoyed working in his darkroom and fellowship with other enthusiasts in the Jackson Photographic Society. Lester was also a master woodworker. Over the years, his woodworking interests showed no limits. He created beautiful furniture, fine boxes, pens, intricate turnings, inlaid bowls, and even musical instruments. He was prolific in his workshop and loved giving away his art. His pieces are particularly prized by his family and friends as enduring connections to him.

Best known of Lester's creations is the miniature Christmas Village that has been displayed in the Jackson area every holiday season since 1973. Lester's handcrafted collection of dollhouse-sized buildings set on a sparkling snowscape, and decorated with Minnie's collaboration and eye for detail, remains magical for young and old alike, especially when illuminated at night. Now displayed in Madison, the Village continues as Lester and Minnie's Christmas card to the city. With the church at its center and highest spot, the Christmas Village points to the values, wonder, and joy that marked Lester and Minnie's exemplary life together.

Lester was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Minnie, and by their twin daughters who died at birth; by his parents, Lester Alvis, Sr. and Minnie Berry Alvis; and by his brother, Jimmy Alvis, and sister, Ann Holbrook. He is survived by his sons and daughters-in-law, Les Alvis and Carol Alvis of Tupelo, and Bill Alvis and Brenda Alvis of Madison; by his grandchildren and their spouses: Charlie Alvis and Sophie Massie of Charlottesville, Virginia, Madeline Alvis of Washington, D.C., Laurie Aultman and Matthew Aultman of Tupelo, Brooke Alvis and Grace Alvis of Madison; by his great-granddaughter Alletta Alvis; and by numerous nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Friday, December 6, at Sebrell Funeral Home in Ridgeland. A funeral service with Holy Communion will be at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 7, at St. Stephen's Anglican Church. A reception with the family will follow the service in the parish hall.

Memorials may be made to the building fund of St. Stephen's Anglican Church, 5049 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, Mississippi 39232.
Published in Clarion Ledger from Dec. 3 to Dec. 5, 2019
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