Cover photo for Rev. Dr. Herbert L. Lester, Jr.'s Obituary
Rev. Dr. Herbert L. Lester, Jr. Profile Photo
1948 Rev. Dr. Herbert L. 2024

Rev. Dr. Herbert L. Lester, Jr.

August 16, 1948 — January 4, 2024

Rev. Dr. Herbert Lee Lester, Jr. age 75, a beloved member of the community, passed away on January 4th, 2024, at home in Nashville. Born in Memphis on August 16th, 1948 to Rev. Herbert Lee Lester, Sr. and Juanita White Lester, who preceded him in death. Herbert's departure has left an indescribable void in the hearts of his family, friends, and all who had the pleasure of knowing him. He is survived by his loving spouse, Deanna Lester, the children that he loved; Monica, Jeremy, Sheila, Barbara, Lani, Candace, Sean, Fran, Ryan and Rachael, Grandchildren; Adam, Kris, Astro and Ruby, siblings; Patricia, Danette, Donna, Dennis, Pam, Darren and Wendy, parents-in-law; Dean and Linda, nieces and nephews; Yolanda, Shane, Naomi, Adam, Anna and Haley - plus many aunts, uncles & cousins.

Herbert graduated from Tennessee State University with a BS in Sociology & is a Life Member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. University Of Memphis Chapter. He garnered both a Masters & Doctorate of Divinity from Memphis Theological Seminary. An Elder in the United Methodist Church, he served churches of the Tennessee Western Kentucky Conference for 45 years, retiring in 2021 - and continuing to serve part time.

Dr. Lester became an adjunct professor at Memphis Theological Seminary after receiving his doctorate, and also taught in the Divinity School of Vanderbilt University as a member of the Field Education Teaching Team. He also has served as Instructor of Sociology & Psychology at Rutledge Junior College. Developing and teaching classes in the areas of community organizing, missions & the writings of Rene Girard, Dr. Lester also served as a cross-cultural consultant for the Tacoma, Washington Department of Health on issues of male violence. As a professional counselor & certified mediator, he operated in private practice for many years in the areas of youth diversion, geriatric day-treatment and emergency mental health services.

Beyond teaching community organizing & conflict resolution, Dr. Lester was a lifelong activist and force for good within the Civil Rights Movement. Herbert helped to create & grow organizations such as Shelby County Interfaith (SCI) & Nashville Organized for Action & Hope (NOAH).

As a consultant with Killebrew & Associates, he provided conflict resolution between union leaders & government officials in the Nigerian electric power industry. He also worked with the Mid-South Peace & Justice Center & served on the boards of many other organizations to enrich & empower the lives of everyday people.

Pastor Lester encouraged all who knew him to be actively involved with their community, standing up for the rights of all peoples - at home and abroad. An avid globe-trotter & veteran of the United States Navy, Herbert began his travels serving aboard the USS Forrestal during the Vietnam War as a Communications Yeoman, Third Class. He continued to travel extensively, exploring God’s great creation.

His warm smile and friendly demeanor were an invitation to everyone he met to engage in heartfelt conversation. Herbert possessed a unique ability to make people feel comfortable and heard, making him a trusted confidant and friend to many. He
embraced every day with unwavering positivity and a zest for life that inspired those around him. His infectious laughter could light up any room and brought joy to countless gatherings over the years.

The impact Pastor Lester made on the lives he touched will continue to inspire and guide generations. May the peace of God comfort all, and may we honor his life and legacy in remembering his final message “I am always with you.”

In lieu of flowers….donations can be made to Raise the Roof Academy, PO Box 92216, Nashville, TN 37209 ( or Clark UMC Community Development Corp., Attn: LaRhonda Potts Treasurer, 1014 14th Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37208

There will be a private burial for the immediate family and a Celebration of Life Service will be held March 9, 2024 at 12:30 pm located at Blakemore UMC, 3601 West End Avenue, Nashville, TN 37205.
To send flowers to the family in memory of Rev. Dr. Herbert L. Lester, Jr., please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, March 9, 2024

12:30 - 1:30 pm (Central time)

Blakemore United Methodist Church

3601 West End Ave, Nashville, TN 37205

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