Jim was born in Swalwell, Alberta, Canada, Aug. 27, 1945 to Lloyd and Jean Lester and passed to eternal life Dec. 30, 2020 at Kindred Hospital in Rancho Cucamonga.
After spending his youth in both Alberta and Beaumont, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in Butte, Mo., May 8, 1967.
He served in Vietnam in the 1st Marine Division, earning two purple hearts and went on to retire in 1987 as a master sergeant of Marines.
During this period, Jim married Donna Alexander in 1969. He was stationed at MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, where their son James Alexander Lester was born in 1970.
A source of pride to Jim was that in 1972 he became a United States citizen in the country he was to serve for years. After retirement, Jim owned and operated Liberty Sporting Arms in Beaumont from 1992-2007. He was active in the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce as President and was a Board member for several years. He belonged to the Beaumont Lions Club and served as President as well. Both he and Donna were honored as Citizens of the Year in 2010 by the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce.
After retiring from his business, he and Donna bought a home in Kalispell, Mo., where he enjoyed the outdoor lifestyle of his youth for some ten years.
Jim is survived by his wife Donna; son Alex (Yolanda); and grandsons Rodrigo and Azariah; sisters Margaret Stewart, Betty Galloway (Hamish), Kathy Johnson (Barry); and brother Norman Lester (Pat). He thought highly of his nine nieces and nephews and their beautiful families as well.
Also surviving Jim is Geneva Wood, his 100-year old aunt by marriage and many long-time dear friends, spanning from Canada and Montana to California.
Because of COVID-19 regulations and closed borders between Canada and the United States at this time, there will only be a small graveside service at Mt. View Cemetery, 1315 Edgar Ave, Beaumont, at 11 a.m. Jan. 29, 2021.
A memorial booklet in Jim’s memory will be mailed to family and friends in the near future. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Jim's honor to Beaumont Presbyterian Church, specifying Wheelchair Outreach.