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  Des Moines Register
Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa
February 10, 2017

OBITUARY ~ JoANN LESTER
June 28, 1943 ~ February 03, 2017

JoAnn Lester was born on June 28, 1943, at the Indianola Hospital and died on Feb. 3, 2017, at the Specialty Care Center in Lamoni. She was the first born child of Howard W. Lester and Inez Culbertson Lester. She grew up in Indianola, participated and graduated from Indianola High School in 1963. She is survived by her sister Judy Kay Blakely in Niceville, Fla. Both girls were involved in the family construction and trucking business. Additional family members include her nephew Ryan Douglass Blakely, wife Heidi and their two children Caroline and Dalton in Maitland, Fla. Younger brother of Ryan and nephew of JoAnn is Jonathan Kyran Blakely currently living and working in Okinawa, Japan. Her “brother” Doug Blakely and his wife Penny Blakely live in Indianola. She was a lifelong member of the First United Methodist Church in Indianola and later at the First United Methodist Church in Lamoni.

JoAnn graduated from Simpson College in 1968 majoring in art education. In 1969 she began her teaching career in the Lamoni Community School District and Grand Valley Community School District. In 1971 she became the full-time K-12 art teacher for the Lamoni school district. She had a positive impact on the lives of many hundreds if not thousands of students during her many years in the school classroom. But she taught more than just art, she taught about life and believing in yourself. Reach for the stars and many of her students succeeded in doing that with her tireless encouragement. Her students are spread far and wide throughout this country. Her retirement in 2012 was not the end of her contact with her students. She always welcomed hearing from them and enjoyed their visits at the Specialty Care Center in Lamoni.

JoAnn Lester was absolutely and totally adamant that there be no funeral or memorial service for her. However visiting her old art classroom was not mentioned, therefore not prohibited. On May 27 the Lamoni Schools Alumni Association will host “Art-ifacts and Memories” in conjunction with the high school reunion held on Memorial Day weekend. Students and friends will be asked to bring a photo, art project or some artifact to share that connected them to JoAnn Lester. More information will be in the March Lamoni Alumni Newsletter. Also info will be posted on the JoAnn Lester Facebook page.

Memorial donations may be made to: “JoAnn Lester Memorial Fund.” Please mail to “Lamoni Alumni Association, 202 North Walnut, Lamoni, IA 50140. These funds will be accrued, overseen by the alumni association, and directed to a specific cause or item that Jo would have appreciated. Two suggestions are a scholarship fund and/or a showcase to exhibit student art. Her cremains will be interred at a future date in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Indianola.

JoAnn leaves an incredible number of friends who have been touched in some way by her life. Of particular note is the wonderful staff at the Lamoni Specialty Care Center. This was her home for the last five years. Their continuing friendship and caring were warm and genuine. Our thanks from her family to all of you who have provided Jo and us with support and compassion. Online condolences may be made at www.petersonfuneralservice.com.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, July of 2017

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