Lester Dean Priest, age 78, went to his heavenly home on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, at his home in Ardmore. Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday, May 19, 2017, at Griffin-Hillcrest Funeral Home with Pastor Leroy Holman and Pastor Donny Custar to officiate. Interment to follow at Hillcrest Memorial Park.
Lester Priest was born on June 30, 1938, to Horace and Hazel M Priest (Stewart) in Seminole, Okla. He attended all 12 years at New Lima School in New Lima, Okla. During his high school years, Lester joined the National Guard and served from 1956-1957. Upon high school graduation, he entered the U.S. Navy July 9, 1957, where he served his country as Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class (E4) Machinist’s Mate (MM3) on the U.S.S Passumpsic, an oil tanker. He was stationed in Long Beach, Calif. He was assigned to an overseas duty tour in the Pacific with stops in the Philippines, Japan and China. June 29, 1961, he was released from active duty and transferred to Naval Reserve with Honorable Character of service. He attended two years at Tarrant County Junior College.
Lester became a Mason in 1966 in Arlington, Texas, transferred his membership to Ardmore in 1971 and is currently a 32-Degree Mason. Lester gave his life to the Lord while attending a James Robinson revival in 1968. He was so touched by The Lord he jumped over the fence at the large outside event and ran to the front. He served the Lord in many different areas in the churches he was a member. He is a member of the Maranatha Freewill Baptist Church in Ardmore.
After leaving the Navy he managed services stations in Tulsa and Lawton before settling in Arlington, Texas, working for LTV & Bell Helicopter, GM. He and his family moved to Ardmore in 1971 when he was hired at Uniroyal Tire Company. In 1973, he had a speaking part in the movie, Dillinger. In 1975, he opened Priest Conoco Auto Repair and Wrecker Service in Ardmore, serving the area with auto repair, full service gas station/convenience store, and wrecker service. He attended the Ardmore Vocational-Technical School in 1977 and became certified as a diesel mechanic. His business now offered large engine/diesel repair and added a new Semi-wrecker. He later sold and built Priest Auto Repair Service on Rockford Road, then on 4th street. He retired and sold his final shop in 2001. Lester enjoyed, fishing and hunting with family and friends, spending time with his spouse, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Maudina and husband, Alvin Phillips; brother, Howard Priest and wife, Lois; brother-in-law, Jeff Swindell; brother, Glen Priest and wife, Bessie; and sister, Ruby Blasier and husband, Leroy.
Lester is survived by his wife of 17 years, Corrine of the home. From his first union came four daughters, Leslie and husband, James Gillaspy, Tina and husband, Scott Callender, Carlene and husband, James Henderson and Melissa Priest; from his second union came a stepdaughter, Katherine and husband, Shawn Byrne; grandchildren, David Gillaspy, Jennifer Gillaspy, Tori Gillaspy, Kaylea Gillaspy, Brittany Morgan and her husband, Derek, Paul Callender, Taryn Callender and fiancé, Bradley Taylor, Carlee Henderson, Parker Henderson, Brandon Arnold and wife, Alexa, Andrea Senter and husband, Caesar, Catie Richards, Hannah Richards and Grayson Byrne; great-grandchildren, Baylor, Walker, Audrey Morgan, Addilyn Arnold and soon to arrive siblings, Axton and Avenly Senter; his faithful companion, Lobo; and many close nephews, nieces, friends and co-workers.
Serving as pallbearers will be Johnny Nichols, Allen Brantley, Scott Callender, Derek Morgan, Paul Callender and David Gillaspy. Honorary bearers will be Brandon Arnold, Parker Henderson and Shawn Byrne.
Family and friends visitation will be from 6 p.m. -8 p.m. this evening at Griffin-Hillcrest Funeral Home.
Condolences may be left at www.griffinhillcrest.com.