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Lester L. Luna of Springfield, Mo., was born in Okmulgee, Okla., on Jan. 20, 1919, to Alva Taylor and Abbie Edwards Luna, and went to be with the Lord on Dec. 31, 2011, in Springfield, Mo., just three weeks before his 93rd birthday.
Lester’s was a long life marked by hard work, determination, success and good health, all traits of which he was very proud. Until the day before his passing, he was able to live in his own home, along with his son, Leon.
Lester was married to the late Lois Awilda Mahan of Rockbridge in 1938, and they enjoyed 50 happy years together until her passing in 1988.
Lester was the fourth of nine children born to Alva and Abbie Luna; his siblings were Beulah, John and William (twins), Leonard, Alva, Byron, Mary Elizabeth and Phyllis. The family was living in Carthage, Mo., where Alva was assistant postmaster and managed a grocery store, when the young father passed away suddenly at the age of 36. Eight-year-old Lester was then sent to Rockbridge, Mo., to live with his maternal grandparents, J.P. and Hannah Edwards, who were devoted caregivers to their grandson.
Lester attended the one-room Lower Brixey school and then went on to graduate from Gainesville High School in 1936. He then taught several terms in area one-room schools, including Romance, Souder and Lower Brixey, before he and Lois moved to Springfield where Lester would work his way through college.
After earning a degree in accounting, Lester’s first major job was as a bookkeeper with electric cooperatives in Bolivar and Poplar Bluff, where he soon attained the position of manager. During that time, Lester served two terms as president of the Missouri REA Bookkeeper and Accounts Association. He also was a member of the United States Army during those years which coincided with World War II, serving stateside rather than overseas.
Eventually the Lunas moved back to Springfield when Lester purchased an interest in Draughon’s Business College, a school he then managed. When the college was sold to a national chain, he became their troubleshooter and traveled to campuses in Alabama, Washington, Oregon and St. Louis before retiring in 1984.
After Lois passed away, Lester and Leon enjoyed going to garage sales, watching television and listening to music, and keeping up with current affairs. Lester was proud of the fact that for 92 years he took no medication and was able to maintain their home by himself until just a few years ago. At that time, Harry and Linda Crouse were chosen to assist Lester and will continue to help Leon live at home.
In addition to his son, Leon, Lester Luna is survived by his sister-in-law, Julia Mahan Taber, and several nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held at the Gorman-Scharpf Funeral Home–Brentwood Chapel at 10 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 5, with the Rev. Harry Crouse officiating. A graveside service will immediately follow at Maple Park Cemetery in Springfield.
The family has suggested memorials be made to the Shriners’ Hospital for Children in St. Louis, Mo.