Lester Frank Russell

Funeral services for Lester Frank Russell were held Thursday, August 4, 2016, at Mitchell Family Funeral Home with Pastors Ray and Becky Girard officiating. Mr. Russell will be laid to rest in Nemaha Cemetery in Nemaha, Nebraska at a later date. Music was provided by Brooke LeWarne and Vonna Hayes.

Along with family and friends, groups attending were representing P.E.O. Chapter NU, Bickford Cottage and Iowa River Hospice.

Mitchell Family Funeral Home was entrusted with the care of Lester and his family.

Lester Frank Russell

Lester’s life work was his commitment to education. He believed that the power of education would make a better society. He encouraged people to learn and to better themselves.

Lester was active in professional, civic and fraternal organizations. He was the past president of the Peru Kiwanis Club (a club honored for its fundraising abilities among small Kiwanis Clubs across the country) and that organization named him Citizen of the Year in 2007; President of the Nebraska Council on Industrial arts Teacher Education, Trustee of Eta Chapter Epsilon Pi Tau (an international honorary for industrial education) and was past Master of Auburn Lodge #124 A.F. & A.M. Lester was a life member of the National Education Association, the International Technology Education Association, the National Council of Technology Education, the Nebraska Industrial Technology Education Association, and the Mississippi Valley Industrial Technology Teacher Education Conference. He was a charter member and early director of the Nebraska Association of Aerospace Educators.

After his retirement from teaching, he was President of the Peru State College Foundation from 1997 to 2000. Lester was also a driving force in the movement to keep PSC in Peru, when a local group lobbied to move it to a new location in Nebraska City, NE. He spent considerable hours working with local groups, politicians, and the Nebraska State legislature to ensure the College remained at Peru. His work was successful and the college continues to thrive and grow in Peru.

Lester and Esther were active in the Auburn Church of Christ after transferring their membership from the Nemaha Christian Church in 1952. Lester served as Chairman of the Board for many years, and held offices of elder and deacon for some time. He taught Bible School for nearly 45 years.

Gardening was always a hobby and passion for Lester and Esther. They were well known for their gardens, and the abundant produce they shared with many local people. Even at Bickford, he was able to continue to grow tomatoes his plants are still growing well in a garden plot at the facility.

He was a man of many talents, and will be greatly missed by family and friends.

He is preceded in death by his parents, and his wife, Esther, who passed away in December, 2011.

He is survived by his daughter, Martha (Ron) Brestel, of Marshalltown, IA; sister-in-law’s Twila (Alan) Stiers, of Cedar Rapids, IA, Donna (Eldon now deceased) Wheeler, of Tacna, Arizona; nieces and nephews, cousins and many friends.

The family asks that memorials be directed to the Peru State College Foundation in Peru, NE, or to Grimes Farm in Marshalltown, IA.