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Sylvia B. Lester

Obituary for Sylvia B. Lester

August 16, 1915 - March 21, 2018
Austin, Texas | Age 102


Sylvia B. Lester
August 16, 1915 - March 21, 2018 (102 years)

Sylvia was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. A couple of years later, she, her baby sister Cele and her parents moved to Dallas. Both daughters grew up and married in Dallas. The family spent many enjoyable summers with her grandparents, aunt and uncles in Paris, Kentucky. Sylvia graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas in 1932 and from S.M.U. with a BA in English in 1936. The next year, Sylvia and a girlfriend, Madge, moved to New York to look for work and to "see the sights and the lights." Although the Great Depression was in full force, Sylvia found a job with a publishing company. Madge was unable to find a job in fashion design, so she returned early to Dallas to resume her school teaching job. Sylvia remained alone in New York for several more months, but the approaching cold winter, loneliness and the tug of romantic letters from a man friend in Dallas all convinced her to return home. In Dallas, she got a job with an oil company and within a year married the writer of the love letters, William Lester, a young artist. The couple's two children, Edith and Paul, were born in Dallas.

In August, 1942, William joined the faculty of the art department at the University of Texas and the family moved to Austin. He retired from U.T. in 1972 as Professor Emeritus. Sylvia and William remained in Austin for the rest of their lives.

Sylvia was a truly valued wife, mother and homemaker. She and William helped to rear their orphaned niece, Millie, who predeceased Sylvia two years ago.

For more than fifty years, Sylvia was a member of the League of Women Voters. She was active in book clubs, especially the Bluebonnet Lane Club, and her "sewing group" of women friends, where talk of books, public affairs, and family generally crowded out any actual sewing.

Following William's death in Breckenridge Hospital in 1991, she became a volunteer there, showing up steadily on Monday mornings for about fifteen years. In earlier years she worked part-time at Child and Family Services and as a legislation proof reader during two or three sessions of the Texas Legislature.

She very much enjoyed her more than seventeen years at Westminster Manor, from January, 2001 until her death.

Sylvia is survived by her two children, Edith and her husband Phil Kimbrough, Paul and his wife Bette, by five grandchildren, Kathryn Speck, Kelly Richards, Laura Lester, Paige Goeminne and Paul Kimbrough, and by nine grandchildren, Christopher, Karissa, and Michael Speck, Bryan and David Richards, Lauryn and McKenzie Kimbrough, and Camille and Christophe Goeminne. She also leaves a nephew, Michael Crow and several grand nieces and nephews.

Her granddaughter Laura is the only family member who lives in Austin. Laura was of great support to Sylvia over the years, and her close presence was a comfort not only to Sylvia, but to the rest of the family was well. The family is very appreciative of the fine care given by the staff at Westminster Manor and by her physician, Michael Pellegrini, M.D.

Sylvia was always interested in and concerned for others, and was uncritically accepting of all.

A card sent to her from a fellow Westminster Manor resident who was a friend and admirer captures several of her fine qualities. In his note, he wrote:

"I wish I had a good humor like yours,
a calm patience like yours,
a quiet cheerfulness like yours,
and the understanding of others like yours."

To which her family and everyone who knew her would surely say, amen.

For those who wish to honor her memory, a contribution to Doctors Without Borders or an organization of your choice is suggested.

Private Services

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Arrangements By

Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
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