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Shirley Jane Lester

11/13/1930 - 12/27/2023

Shirley Jane Lester, age 93, passed away peacefully on December 27, 2023 in Tempe, Arizona.

Shirley, daughter of Queena and Virgil Bloyd, was born in Lincoln, Kansas, on November 13, 1930.  She lived there until she was graduated from Lincoln High School in 1948.  After graduation she attended Chillicothe Business College in Chillicothe, Missouri, and was graduated there with a secretarial diploma in the spring of 1949.  She immediately began work as a secretary for the Production and Marketing Administration in Manhattan, Kansas, where she worked until September 1950.  She then enrolled at Kansas State College in Manhattan.  During the summer while attending college, she worked in the office of the Quartzite Stone Company in Lincoln.

In January 1954, Shirley was graduated from Kansas State College with a B. S. Degree in Business Administration.  She began teaching business subjects at Atchison High School, Atchison, Kansas, that same month and continued until May 1956.

In June 1956, Shirley moved to San Diego, California, and accepted a job as a secretary with Solar Aircraft Company.  While in San Diego, she met and fell in love with Lt(jg) John Lester who was stationed with the Navy there.  They were married in Lincoln, Kansas, on June 22, 1957, and moved to Annapolis, Maryland, as John had been appointed as an instructor at The United States Naval Academy.  Shirley worked in the Superintendent’s Office at the Naval Academy one year and taught high school business subjects at South High School, Lothian, Maryland, during the 1958-59 school year.

In June 1959, Shirley and John moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where their son, Philip, was born in July 1959.  They lived in Minneapolis until April 1961, when they moved to Phoenix where Janet was born in May 1961.  In October 1961, the Lester family relocated to Tempe, where they resided for 38 years.  In January 2000 they relocated to Mesa.  In 2012, they returned to Tempe and took up residence at Friendship Village, a retirement community.

Shirley participated in various school-related activities while Phil and Janet attended the Scottsdale Schools.  In 1975, she was employed as a part-time Instructional Assistant in the Scottsdale, School District, working at Yavapai and Tonalea Schools for ten years.  She retired from this position in June, 1985.

In her free time, Shirley loved to play bridge and golf with her best friends.

During the years in Arizona Shirley was an active charter member of the Los Arcos United Methodist Church in Scottsdale, and subsequently became a member of Scottsdale United Methodist Church.  When they relocated to Friendship Village, they found a church home at St. Matthew United Methodist Church in Mesa.

Shirley was preceded in death by her parents and brother, Jerry.  Survivors include her husband of 66 years, John, their children Phil (Beth) and Janet (Dan) and her four granddaughters, Hilary (Patrick), Hannah (Jacob), Alexandria and Jenna.  A celebration of her life is planned for Saturday, January 27 at 1:00 p.m. at Friendship Village Skirm Auditorium, Tempe, AZ.  In lieu of flowers, donations to Hospice of the Valley or Friendship Village Foundation are suggested.




  • I am so sorry I am unable to attend this Saturday. Even though Shirley and I met for the first time in about 1993 we were second cousins. Our friendship really began sometime around the early 2000’s. I enjoyed visiting with her about family, doing things together and getting acquainted with Phil, Beth, Janet and Dan. Though she wasn’t terribly interested in genealogy John is and she encouraged him to work on my dad’s branch. She and I had a lot of fun discussing that. I will miss Shirley a lot. At this season of life family matters a lot. I will keep in touch with you, John. I love you all and my heart is with you,

  • Pat & Ray Wells

    I treasured Shirley’s friendship. We played bridge together for over 50 years. During that time we shared the ups and downs of our lives, lots of
    hugs , love, and laughter, and played a lot of bridge.
    Ray is a Kansas boy, born and raised in Hutchinson.
    He graduated from Kansas State. So, we have Kansas in common.
    Shirley is a special friend, and will be missed!
    Hugs and Love, Pat and Ray

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