Eugene Edward Lester

Visitation for Eugene Lester will be from 6­ to 8 p.m., Friday, June 2, 2017 at Warren­ McElwain Mortuary. Eugene Edward Lester lived and died on his own terms. He was six months away from his fiftieth birthday when he succumbed to injuries sustained during a motorcycle accident last Saturday night in Lawrence.

Gene was born in Houston, Texas on November 25th, 1967 to Robert and Linda Lester, but grew up near Cut-n-Shoot, Texas on the edge of the Big Thicket. The family relocated to Lawrence in the summer of 1978, where he attended Elementary and Jr. High, graduating in 1986 from Lawrence High School.

Gene enlisted in the Army, where he was an artilleryman. He earned his airborne and air assault wings, served in the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, deployed to U.S. Army Jungle Operations Training Battalion, Fort Sherman, Panama, and eventually served several years in Germany. While in the service, he married Shelly Borland of Lawrence, who joined him in Germany. During that time he witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall. They had a son, Jake Robert, and lived in Lawrence after he was honorably discharged, SPC E-4. He installed utilities for J.W. Willis Construction in the Northeast Kansas area for several years, worked at K-Mart distribution, erected steel framed buildings, and then joined the family business, The Etc. Shop, as a bookkeeper. Although their marriage did not survive, Gene gained a stepdaughter, Kameron Teehee of Lawrence, who he hoped to someday escort down the aisle.

In 2012, he purchased several acres of overgrown bottom land traversed by Baldwin Creek from a close friend. He proceed to clear brush to shape it into a “park like setting,” which he christened “Long Branch Ranch.” He constructed a limestone low water bridge across the creek. He was endlessly fascinated with the way it responded to rain events, changed course, deposited sand bars, and swept uprooted trees along like so many matchsticks. A log full of pages of detailed notes and over ten gigabytes of photos and videos documented this project.

When asked, family and friends emphasized his loyalty, generosity, and integrity. He was “always there to help whomever, whenever, often dropping whatever he had going on to help someone else out.” He was preceded in death by his paternal and maternal grandparents, his favorite great aunt, Ellen Gregg, and her husband, Ed—after whom he modeled himself in so many ways. He is survived by his parents Linda and Robert, his sister Cyndy, his brother Hugh, Shelly, Kameron, and Jake.

Memorial contributions may be made in his name to the Charity of the Donor’s choice and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary.

Online condolences may be posted at

5 Condolences

  1. Hugh Lester on May 31, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    My brother should have died on October 20, 1987. He was involved in the worst parachuting accident at Fort Benning, GA Airborne School in a decade. He wasn’t even twenty at the time. Instead, he was spared, and lived another thirty years. His way.

    This provides some needed perspective on his loss. That, and the fact that the last five years of his life were his most fulfilling, in the opinion of many that knew him. He will be sorely missed.

  2. Jeanette Spencer on June 1, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    Remembering Gene
    I never knew him as Eugene, only Gene. Quiet, easy going, easy to work with, smart, funny, a good cook, great smile. I wish I knew him better. Jeanette

    An Irish poem: Remember Joy

    I could not stay another day,
    To love, to laugh, to work or play;
    Task left undone must stay that way.
    And if my parting has left a void,
    Then fill it with remembered joy.

  3. Sean Crawford on June 2, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    Linda and family,

    I can’t express how sorry I am to learn of Gene’s passing. Sending lots of thoughts and prayers your way. God bless Gene !!!

  4. Dinse-Harrower Family on June 3, 2017 at 3:50 am

    Please accept my deepest condolences for your family’s loss.
    May you be comforted by the outpouring of love surrounding you. Sending love and prayers your way.
    Rest in peace, dear Gene.
    Janette, Andrew & boys

  5. Rhetta Noever on June 4, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Linda, I am so sorry to hear of your son Gene’s accident and passing. I know you will miss him so much. It takes a lot of strength to get through these difficult times. Bless you and yours.

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