Kathryn Bernice Lester

In a “league of her own,” Kathryn Bernice Lester played hard, lived well, and died all too soon on Sun., Aug. 9, 2015. She experienced an irrecoverable fall last October where bouncing back wasn’t an option.

Born in Morenci, Ariz., on Feb. 20, 1941, to Susan and Allen Robertson, Kathy and her family moved to Seattle when she was a girl. There she went to school, made lifelong friends, played some serious semi-pro softball, and swam to her heart’s content. She later attended Central Washington University.

She met her future husband, Bill Lester, in Port Angeles, where he was a National Park Service ranger, and after their marriage they made their home at the Lake Ozette Guard Station. The famous Ozette archeological digs of the mid-1970s became her project, and lifelong friendships were forged with Makah tribal elders. After daughter Mary was born in 1976, they transferred to North Cascades National Park, and Kathy had, once again, projects around every bend in the trail. She and Bill hand-built the park’s first alpine plant restoration greenhouse out of salvaged materials, behind their home on the Marblemount compound. They also built the first permanent Wilderness Information Center after the little travel trailer proved to be too small. In addition, with Mary inheriting her mother’s love for animals, they built a small barn behind their government house, where Mary kept her pony, lamb, and other creatures large and small.

Kathy was a huge supporter of her friends’ and family’s interests and needs, and was always there to lend a hand. She became very involved in 4-H, Pony Club, and greyhound dog rescue, to name just a few.

Kathy also worked for numerous local businesses and agencies, including Cascadian Farm in Rockport and the U.S. Forest Service in Darrington, and at Casa de Fruita in California, when Bill worked at Pinnacles National Monument. And despite her advancing illness this past year, Kathy volunteered many hours helping at Marblemount’s Bread of Life Food Bank.

For the past 10 years, Kathy hosted a most unusual, multi-day campout party for her many greyhound rescue friends and their dogs on her land up Cascade River Rd. These times will never be forgotten by those who were there!

Kathy was preceded in her passing by both of her parents, her husband Bill, and numerous horses, ponies, goats, and dogs, especially her beloved greyhound, Fly Boy. She is survived by her daughter Mary, Will Wrynn, and their 10-month-old son James; brother Bruce; brother-in-law Jerry Lester; numerous other in-laws, nieces, and nephews; and her lifelong friend Mary Langbein. The family also wishes to thank Dr. Daniel Garcia of Concrete and his wonderful staff at East Valley Medical/Sea Mar for their care and support.

A memorial gathering and celebration of her life will take place on May 24, 2016, in Marblemount. Contact Mary for more information mlealester@gmail.com.

Donations in Kathy’s name may be made to the Humane Society of Skagit Valley, 18841 Kelleher Rd., Burlington, WA 98233.

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