Lester S. Anderson


Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2003

Longtime Soldotna resident Lester S. Anderson died Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2003, at his home in Soldotna of congestive heart failure. He was 84.

Memorial services were held at Peninsula Grace Brethren Church on Saturday. Interment was held Friday at the Spruce Grove Memorial Park in Kasilof.

Mr. Anderson was born in Aberdeen, Wash., on Oct. 8, 1918. He spent his childhood in Sandy, Ore. Mr. Anderson served in the U.S. Army as a master sergeant during World War II. He and his family moved to Alaska from Gresham, Ore., in 1948.

Mr. Anderson worked at Northway Cab Co. and then Chevron Corp. until 1967 when he moved his family to the Kenai Peninsula and began Les' Y Chevron in 1967. In 1976, he co-founded Peninsula Ford and worked there until his retirement in 1993.

He enjoyed attending church at Peninsula Grace Brethren and Peninsula Bible Fellowship.

"Les was a wonderful companion, loving husband, gentle and kind grandfather and a steady and consistent friend to many," his family said.

"The great loves of Les' life included his strong faith, both his wives Dorothy and Clara, his daughter, Sharon, the rest of his family, friends and fishing not always in that order. His engaging smile, twinkling eyes, and lifelong capacity for fun drew both children and adults. If a job needed doing, you could always count on him for help. He worked hard all of his life, but he always made time for fun. For years, summer found him up at 3 a.m. and on his beloved Kenai River by 4 a.m. so he could go to work by 8 or 9 a.m., and then go fishing again after dinner. He was always ready to make a run to Anchorage to see kids and grandkids at a moment's notice.

"Although small things, like putting stove pipes together, untangling clothes hangers and following assembly directions (which he usually ignored) tied him in knots, he had infinite patience for people and our shortcomings. Through his adult years, others naturally turned to him. He understood people and trusted their word. Once he looked you in the eye, you would strive to meet his expectations. If someone he knew hurt others intentionally, that single look raised their awareness and helped change their behavior with a few concise words, always quietly and respectfully delivered.

"Les was always reasonable, open to most any point of view. But once he made up his mind, he never wavered. Commercial fishing with Uncle Bud, starting Les' Y and Peninsula Ford, earning new furniture for Gramma Dorothy, keeping grandchildren in line, or marrying Gramma Clara never doubt, he knew his path.

"Grampa Les was a great man who loved life every step of the way. His eyes were wrinkled from years of smiling. His smile was consistent and contagious. (He was) a great teaser, joke maker and 'button pusher.' Anyone who knew him would agree he was a blessed man. No matter who you were, where you were from, or what your past, you were comfortable in his presence, thankful for his friendly conversation, happy laughter and unselfishness of any support you needed. Grampa Les was not just a fisherman, he was a great man who caught a big fish," his family said.

Mr. Anderson was preceded in death by his first wife, Dorothy; brother, Bill Anderson; and grandson, Eric Lemm.

He is survived by his wife, Clara Snell-Anderson; daughter and son-in law, Sharon Anderson-Leon and Edward Leon; granddaughter, Shawnessy (Leon) DeLauriers and her children, Blake and Trey DeLauriers; grandson, Jaime Leon and his wife, Julie, and their daughters, Alexandra and Alyssa; granddaughter, Dahndi (Leon) Wheeler and her husband, Leonard, and their children, Travis and Laina. Mr. Anderson is also survived by Clara's children and grandchildren, Janet (Snell) Greeno and her husband Richard and their children, Tony, Larry, Paul and his wife Mary and their son Macrea; Craig, Michael, Myra, Chesley, Nichole, David and Rhonda; Shirley (Snell) Lemm and her husband Everett and their son Greg Lemm and his wife Johnna and their son Braden; Joann (Snell) Jaillet and her husband Maverick and their daughters Aimee and April; and Barbara Snell and Don Snell.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Cook Inlet Academy Scholarship Fund, 45872 Kalifornsky Beach Road, Soldotna, AK 99669 or to the Solid Rock Bible Camp Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 489, Soldotna, AK 99669.

Arrangements were made by Peninsula Memorial Chapel.

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