Lester I. Collier, Jr. | December 17, 1936 – September 01, 2020 | OBITUARY

Lester I. Collier, Jr.
December 17, 1936 – September 01, 2020



WINTER HAVEN – Lester I. Collier, Jr., 83, passed away peacefully on September 1, at his home in Winter Haven, Florida.

Lester was born December 17, 1936 in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of Rowena Sutfin and Lester I. Collier. The family moved to Tampa in 1937 and then to Haines City in 1942 where he graduated from Haines City High School in 1954. In his younger years the family lived on Lake Eva where he learned to barefoot waterski and was hired to ski in the show at Cypress Gardens. Lester and his sister Nancy Dell were the first brother/sister act to be performed. Both skied summers at Cypress Gardens until college. After the 1957 World Water Ski Tournament, the French team invited Lester to teach water skiing for the summer in Lyon, France.

A 1959 graduate of Emory University, he was active in the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity savoring the big city of Atlanta. Following graduation, Lester served in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. His first job after college in 1960 was based in St. Louis, MO as a public relations representative for the Florida Citrus Commission. He spent most of his career working as a sales representative for Weyerhaeuser Company, retiring in 1996.

The love of his life was Linda Collier, whom he married April 23, 1966 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Winter Haven. They had two sons, Chase and Mitchell. Another life highlight was when Chase married Ginny Guyton of Tampa and a few years later blessed with their granddaughter, Avery Guyton Collier. Lester believed in family and that’s what mattered most.

He sought solace in his religion and has been a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church since 1964. Lester served on the vestry as Junior and Senior Warden several times. He was a Eucharistic Minister; Lay Reader; honorary member of the Flower Guild; member of The Garden of the Cross Committee and Vergers’ Guild of the Episcopal Church.

Although unpretentious, Lester had discriminating taste and was drawn toward all things cultural. A true southern gentleman, he was admired for his willingness to help others, accepting challenges with alacrity. He was an active volunteer in the community with Main Street Winter Haven, President of the Symphony Guild of Winter Haven, President of The Florida Club, The Ridge Art Association and Keep Winter Haven Clean and Beautiful.

Always full of energy, Lester had a passion for the great outdoors, and with an artist eye, two green thumbs and the knowledge of plants; a yard became his canvas for landscaping. Later in life, collecting antiques and oriental rugs was also among his many avocations.

There will be a celebration of life at a later date.

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