Lester Leroy Smith

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Lester Smith

Lester Leroy Smith

February 21, 1932

March 16, 2018

Lester Leroy Smith passed from this earth on Friday, March 16, at his home in Fairfield surrounded by his beloved family. Graveside services were held at 2 p.m. Monday, March 19, at Mt. Zion Cemetery, east of Fairfield, with Dr. Richard Heyduck officiating. Lester was born on February 21, 1932 to Claudia (DuBois) and I.D. Smith in Palacios. He was the baby of six siblings: two brothers and four sisters. His mother passed away while he was still an infant, and Lester went to live with his “Papa” Charlie, and then with other family members, growing up in the Oak Grove community of East Texas. When he was seven years old, Lester came to live with his cousin, Burton Rayburn, newly married to his 16-year-old bride, Avis. He eventually became the adored older brother of four sisters: Melba Sue, Nelda, Muriel, and Linda. At age 17, Lester enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. He served during the Korean Conflict and was stationed in Okinawa, Japan where he worked in teletype maintenance, and then served a second tour at Osan Air Base in Korea. Lester married Gloria Willard on July 29, 1961 at the First United Methodist Church in Fairfield. They had two daughters, Lynda and Karen. In the late 1960’s, Lester was stationed in Athens, Greece with his young family. They later returned to the States, where Lester was a cryptologist instructor at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. Lester retired from the Air Force in 1970 with the rank of Tech Sergeant. His next job was one of his favorites, working for Automotive Research in San Antonio. In 1974, Lester joined one of his best friends, Bob Davis, in moving their families to the small town of Sheridan, Oregon to work as an electrician at a local lumber mill. Within a few short years, Lester’s family had saved enough to buy a house and some property near Gloria’s family in Fairfield. As his wife made use of her nursing degree at Fairfield Memorial Hospital, Lester went to work at home, clearing land, building fences, raising chickens, and planting a garden. With the help of his father-in-law, Bert Willard, Lester built a barn and chicken house that, even after 40 years, still stand strong. When the projects slowed down at home, Lester took on the job of Head Maintenance at Fairfield Memorial Hospital. He kept everything running in good order, while charming the nurses, cooks and cleaning staff. After retiring from the hospital – twice – Lester spent his time reading books, keeping up with the



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