M. Thomas Hester
1941 - 2020
Dr. Marvin Thomas Hester

July 22, 1941 - February 8, 2020

Raleigh, NC

M. Thomas Hester, father, husband, scholar, and teacher, passed away on February 8, 2020 from complications arising from a long struggle with dementia.

Marvin Thomas Hester was born July 22, 1941, in Owensboro, Kentucky. He received his BA from Centre College in 1963 and his PhD from the University of Florida in 1972. From 1971 to 2013, Dr. Hester was a member of the NCSU English Department. During his distinguished career, he won numerous awards both for teaching and scholarship. His scholarship on the work of John Donne was no less impressive; he was the author/editor of eight books and numerous essays.

His passion and exuberance were not limited to his scholarly pursuits. Everywhere Tom went, he charmed people and made friends – from students in his classrooms to his friends at the Wendy's on Creedmoor Rd. His winning smile, passion for life, love for all people, and wickedly silly sense of humor never abated, even to the end.

Tom was preceded in death by his wife Grace in 2009, and is survived by his loving daughter, Claire. His family wishes to express gratitude for the devoted support provided by his guardian, Kim Cannan, and his longtime caregiver, Joannetta Reid during the last few years of his life.

A funeral service will be held Saturday, February 15, 2020 at 2:30 p.m. at Church of the Nativity, 8849 Ray Road, Raleigh NC. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, contributions be given in honor of Dr. Hester to Church of the Nativity and the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration.
Published by The News and Observer on Feb. 11, 2020.
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Funeral service
Church of the Nativity
8849 Ray Road, Raleigh, NC
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I was very saddened to hear of Dr. Hester´s passing as well as his battle with dementia, and my deepest condolences to his family and close friends. Although it has been well over 40 years since I last saw him, I will never forget what a great professor he was and his contagious passion for Elizabethan literature, in particular John Donne. He was my undergraduate advisor in English and a big reason I went on to pursue a Masters. I also will never forget playing against him on the basketball court off Gardner Street near his home. There were some fierce pick-up games there on Saturdays, and he played hoops with the same passion he pursued literature. He was a scoring machine, as quick as they come, and an incredible offensive player for his size. Guarding him was an even bigger challenge than mastering his coursework! Although I ended up also getting a degree in Computer Science and having a career in information technology, my English degree served me well in the professional world. And after I retired early, I returned to my love of literature and began a second career as a writer of literary fiction. Part of the reason I took such a risk went all the way back to Dr. Hester´s enthusiasm for my college essays and belief in me. One of my big regrets in life is never making it back to his office to inform him of my roundabout journey back to writing and the lasting influence his teaching and positive attitude have had on me. Rest In Peace, Tom, and thanks. I still enjoy reading John Donne´s poetry to this day.
Richard A. Ballou
July 7, 2021
Claire, we are so sorry to hear this news. In my experience, your father was gruff and kind in equal measure--and always supportive. We are thinking of you.
Chris Leming
February 17, 2020
With a sad heart will always remember our few times togetherLove and will miss you Susan Oliva(sister)
Susan Oliva
February 15, 2020
May you Rest In Peace my dear brother please give our mother a big kiss for me. Love always. Nancy
February 15, 2020
Dr Hester was a wonderful teacher. I feel very fortunate to have been in his class. My deepest condolences to his family.
Rhonda Webb
February 12, 2020
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