R. Lester Buck, 84, died Sunday evening, Feb. 3, 2020, in Mesa. He was born May 21, 1935, on the family farm in Alpine, Arkansas, to Carrol Jahu and Cornelius Bessie Buck.
Lester had a long fulfilling career building and managing sawmills. At 18, he moved to McNary, to work at the local mill, where he climbed his way to the top over 38 years from the moulding plant to Eastern Arizona Division Manager overseeing the entire Mill operation in McNary as well as the general store and local theater. After part of the McNary mill burned down in 1979, he went on to become the project manager and was instrumental in the design and construction of the new sawmill in Eagar, which he managed until 1991.
In 1954, Lester met Lucille Jaeger, and in 1958 they were married and had two children. They lived in Pinetop until her death in 1993. During this time he was very active in the community including coaching an undefeated Little League team, and acting on several boards. He was very involved in the church, where he served as Deacon for 12 years and taught the high school Sunday school class. He was drafted and served in the Army for two years from 1958 to 1960.
In 1995 Lester met Judy White, with whom he married in 2000 and spent the next 20 years of his life enjoying retirement and traveling East to visit family and loved ones. He was a good sport; loved baseball, playing golf, throwing horseshoes, and beating everyone at cards. He was an honest and upright man in every way and was always so proud of his family. He was a storyteller at heart, and always told the best jokes, right up until the end.
Lester is survived by his wife, Judy; daughter Desta (Eric) Eisenman and son Kevin; grandchildren: Noah Eisenman, Sarah Eisenman, Katie (Zack) Conrad, Brandy (Jake) Barrett, Brian Buck, and two great grandchildren, Brody Billups and Emberley Conrad. He is also survived by four siblings, Jewell Dean Hughes, Wesley, Vari Lee Mitchell and Eugene.
He was preceded in death by his first wife and mother of his children, Ann Lucille Jaeger Buck and nine siblings.
A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7, at Mountain View Funeral Home & Cemetery, 7900 East Main Street, Mesa, AZ, 85207.