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I was born at the Newborn Hospital in Jacksonville on April 27, 1946. I was the second child of John and Hazel Lester, and had a sister, Sylvia who was ten years older. We lived on a farm south of Rusk, where we raised cows, chickens, and pheasants. Dad was the manager for the Southwestern Electric Service Company. My mother worked for the Texas Education Agency at the Rusk State Hospital.

The Rusk ISD provided me with a very good educational foundation.

I graduated in 1964 in a class 64 students. In high school I enjoyed being a member of the band and ran track. As a teen I worked at Brookshire Brothers food store, and at the Rusk State Hospital in the maintenance department. After graduating from Stephen F. Austin University, with a degree in secondary education and majoring in social studies, my wife Molly and I lived in Beaumont, where I taught at David Crockett Junior High.

It was only a few months later that I was notified that Uncle Sam wanted me. After considering all of my options, I decided to join the United States Air Force. It was only a few more months later that I was teaching English language to Vietnamese officers in the Republic of Vietnam Language Defense School. After the officers learned enough English, they were sent to bases in the USA to become pilots. While at the Defense School, I also served as an M-60 machine gunner for the Ground Defense Force. After my year long tour of duty was completed, I was re-assigned to the Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio to be a sound specialist for the School of Aerospace Medicine Motion Picture Production Unit. It was very interesting to see the advancements that were being made in the field of medicine.

After completing my tour of duty in the Air Force, Molly and I returned to Jacksonville to raise our family. For a short time I worked at the Texas Bank and Trust before becoming a teacher for the Jacksonville Independent School District. I drove a bus, taught government and economic classes. I continued my education by returning to SFA for a master’s degree, and principal and superintendent certifications. I held several administrative positions and retired as the principal of the Compass Center. During part of my education career, I taught economics, government, and history class at Jacksonville College.

Through the years, Molly and I have been active members in the First United Methodist church, serving on many committees, teaching Sunday School classes, and singing in the choir. I’ve also enjoyed being a Scout Master in the Boy Scouts; secretary and treasurer for 35 years in the Jacksonville Lions Club; member of the Rodeo Association and other community groups.

In conclusion, we have been blessed to raise our children, Matthew, Jeffery, and Stephanie, in the friendly and caring city of Jacksonville.

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