Lester William Shanklin, Jr., 82 died October 25, 2006 with his family at his side after a brief illness at CAMC Memorial Hospital, Charleston, WV.
Lester was born in Lexington, KY and his family moved several times during his childhood to Ohio, Illinois, New York and West Virginia. As a youth of 14, Lester made a 217 mile bicycle trip alone from Marion, Ohio to Charleston, West Virginia to visit his grandparents taking 28 ½ hours. Also, as a boy, he was a newspaper carrier in Ohio winning a trip sponsored by his newspaper to the Chicago World’s Fair. In high school he ran track and had the lead male roll in his junior class play. He graduated from North High School in Columbus, Ohio in 1942. After meeting Mary L. Hicks in a Woolworth’s Department Store he married her in 1947 in Greenup, Kentucky. Early in his marriage he moved to Dunbar, West Virginina, first taking a job as an appliance repairman at the Diamond Department Store and later as a highway postal clerk with the US Postal Service.
Lester retired from the US Postal Service in 1978 and was an US Army Air Corps veteran of WWII having served in India during the war with a rank of Tech Sergeant. Lester was proud to have circled the world during his military service. He trained as a radioman at Fort Bragg, North Carolina boarded a troop ship in Norfolk, Virginia that later landed in Egypt where he saw the Pyramids. From there his ship went thru the Suez Canal to his post in India. Returning home from India after the war, his ship went to Seattle, Washington where he boarded a train home, thus completing his trip around the globe. Lester was awarded many medals and was proud of his military service to his country.
Lester retired at age 55 and enjoyed traveling, gardening, telling jokes and spending time with his family. He especially loved reading books, watching movies about WWII and was an avid WVU Mountaineer fan. His travels took him to Canada, Mexico, Ireland, England, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Romania, Czechoslovakia and Scotland, as well as all over the United States. Since 1948, he attended the Southridge Freewill Baptist Church and lived in Ruthdale. His faith in the Lord never wavered.
His greatest joy was his family and he set a wonderful example as a loving husband, father and grandfather. He’s survived by Mary, his wife of 59 years. Son, Lester W. “Bill” Shanklin, II and his wife Debbie and Bill’s daughters Kara and her husband Brett Cole, Jessica and her husband Mike Hopp, Amanda and Kristen. Daughter, Vicky and her husband Virgil Lacey and their daughters, Cindy and her husband Travis Maze and their children, Lacey Cale, Aiden, Kayla and Paige Maze; Jennifer and her husband Derrick Shearer and Jamie and her husband, Chad Walters and their son, Bodee. Son, Robert “Bob” Shanklin and Bob’s son, Lee and daughters, Amy and Loren. Daughter, Ruth Ann (Smith) Bowe and her husband, Terry Bowe and daughters, Alisha and her husband, Scott Dumrongkietiman, Emily and Audra Smith and sons, Nathan and Michael Bowe. Son, Mark and his sons, Preston Shanklin and Dustin Fields and his wife, Jennifer and their daughter, Laci. Vickie and Elizabeth Russell. Brother Charles “Chuck” Shanklin of Niceville, FL and sister, Jean Favero of Bakersfield, CA.
Lester was preceded in death by his parents, Lester William Shanklin and Charlotte Alberta Mayer Shanklin; sister, Billie Metzger and brother, Reginald “Denny” Shanklin; one grandson and one great grandson.
Funeral services will be held at 2:00 PM, Sunday, October 29, at the Southridge Freewill Baptist Church at Ruthdale with the Rev. David Cooper officiating. A military service conducted by the Benny Padilla VFW Post 4768 will be held at the church following the service. Burial will follow at the Holmes Family Cemetery, near Charleston. Friends may call from 6 to 9 on Saturday at the church. Curry Funeral Home, Alum Creek, is in charge of the arrangements.