Lester Hampton Hutchins, Jr. passed away Jan. 1, 2018 in Fort Worth, Texas. Lester was born in Conway, Ark. October 3, 1935 to Lester H. Hutchins, Sr., and Alma Cossey Hutchins. He was raised in Damascus on the family farm. There he developed a strong work ethic that he carried with him throughout his life.

Lester’s family donated the land and helped build Damascus United Methodist Church. He and his sister Juanita are the last remaining charter members.Lester graduated from South Side High School in Bee Branch in 1953. He attended Southern Arkansas University (formerly Southern State College) on a Mulerider basketball scholarship. He graduated with a BS in Business.

In 1957, Lester married his college sweetheart Mary A. “Andie” McGowan. They celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary on May 25, 2017. Lester served in the US Army from 1957-1959 achieving the rank of SGT E5. He received his Masters Degree in Business Administration from The University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark. in 1960. In 1960, Lester also began his career with Phillips Petroleum Company in Borger, Texas. Lester and Andie then moved to Bartlesville, Okla. where they raised their daughters Angela and Lisa and were active leaders in the First Baptist Church. He retired from Phillips in 1986. He was then the Director of The Chamber of Commerce for Magnolia-Columbia County, Ark. for ten years. Lester enjoyed his retirement in Guymon, Okla., Fort Worth, Texas and Edmond, Okla.

Lester is survived by his wife, Andie, of Edmond, Okla.; daughter Angela Speed and husband, Don of Fort Worth, Texas; daughter Lisa Beer and husband Galynn of DeWitt, MI; granddaughter Hope Speed and Jim Dirkes of Leander, Texas; grandson Jason Speed and wife Rachel of Fort Worth, Texas; granddaughter Christin Beer of Edmond, Okla. and granddaughter Courtney Beer of Norman, Okla. He is also survived by his sister Juanita Hutchins Nelsen and nephew Dr. Steve Nelsen and wife Diane, all of Hot Springs Village, Ark. He had many lifelong friends that are considered family including Jimmy Solomon of North Little Rock, Ark., the late Tracy Word of Bartlesville, Okla. and Dr. Doug Whistler of Bartlesville, Okla. The host of his other wonderful friends are too numerable to mention.

Lester, L.H., Les, Daddy, Papa, Poppy, brother, Uncle Lester, Hutch, Army buddy, friend, church leader: whatever you called him and however you knew him, he was one of a kind. Lester passed away early New Year’s Day quickly, peacefully and unexpectedly. He was 82 years old. He was in great health. He lived, laughed, loved and danced with Andie to the last. Lester valued his family above all. Andie was the love of his life, and they often shared meaningful time together in the Bible and in prayer. He doted on his daughters. Lester considered his sons-in-law as his own sons. His granddaughters were the delight of his life and he shared a special bond with his grandson. Lester also remained close to his older sister Juanita and spoke with her weekly. He had just shared a great holiday with the whole family.

Even though our hearts are broken we are rejoicing because of his deep personal faith. He loved everyone as unconditionally as he knew God loved him. That is his legacy. His positive outlook, his huge smile and his cackle of a laugh will be long remembered. A private family memorial celebration was held Jan. 7, 2018 in the home of Don and Angela Speed. The family would like to express their gratitude for the outpouring of love and support. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Damascus United Methodist Church, 17194 Highway 65 S, Damascus, Ark. 72039; or the Southern Arkansas University Foundation, Inc., 100 East University, MSC 9174, Magnolia, Ark. 71753-2181.