Lester Thomasson is honored on his 100th birthday

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 10, 2018

Frank Lester Thomasson of Andalusia reached the status of being a centenarian on February 28, 2018; therefore, he was born on February 28, 1918. He has lived most of his life other than his military service time in the Andalusia area.

Among the celebrations of Lester’s birthday, was a dinner hosted by the church he attends, Cedar Grove Church of Christ located on Brooklyn Road. Members of the congregation gathered and provided a meal and festivities prior to their regular Wednesday evening Bible Study. Chief among those planning the event were two sisters, Hazel McClain and Elizabeth Coxwell, the church secretary.

Under a large hanging banner expressing Congratulations and Happy Birthday to Lester were three tables. One of these featured a large, sheet birthday cake especially decorated for the 100-year-old gentleman. Arranged on the second table was an array of many framed pictures of Lester and his family through the years along with the many birthday greeting cards being given by those attending the party. Of course, he expressed appreciation for the displays, and those present enjoyed viewing them. A third special table was attractively decorated for Lester and his immediate family to be seated for enjoying the meal.

The festivities were begun with Jed Blackwell, ministry leader of the church’s care groups, making introductory remarks of the occasion. An appropriate invocation was worded by Greg Bryant, an elder of the church. Afterwards, Lester and his immediate family led the others through the buffet dinner line which included an abundance of finger foods along with main dishes.

As the audience was finishing their meal and beginning to prepare for their desserts of birthday cake and ice cream, Curtis Thomasson, a cousin and church elder, presented a short biography of Lester’s life. The following is a summary of his comments.

Frank Lester Thomasson was born February 28, 1918. His parents, who lived in the Mobley Creek Community, were Frank Cornelius and Annie Elizabeth (Ward) Thomasson. He was the oldest of three boys. One brother, Marvin Malcom died in 1923 as a small child. Another brother, Leon Carl Thomasson, who was born December 24, 1924, married Maggie Smith, daughter of Sid and Claudie Smith, Harry Smith’s grandparents. Leon and Maggie reared one son, Stephen Carl Thomasson (1956-2017).

As a small child, Lester began his formal education at the small Mobley Creek School. Then he was sent to Hopewell for a year before being sent to the Brooklyn School where he finished the sixth grade. Afterwards, he attended Pleasant Home where he finished the ninth Grade and started the tenth.   Sometime during the years 1937 and 1938, he left school to help his Father on the family farm. During the time he was attending Pleasant Home he played the guitar in The FFA Band. Lester also played in another community band with some others including Ira Colvin, brother of Glover Colvin and uncle of Thagard Ray Colvin. He actually played more music with this band than with the FFA’s. He usually played the guitar, but he learned some tunes on the fiddle.

At the age of 21, Lester married Martha Beatrice Jackson on September 26, 1939. Mrs. Bea, as she was called, died February 16, 1999, just a few months before they would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. She was buried in the Smith Cemetery located off Brooklyn Road.

In 1943, while working in the shipping department of the S & B Pants Factory (Scherf & Barnes), he received his draft notice. He was sent to Fort McClelland for processing. During that period, he was asked what branch of service he preferred and why. He told them he preferred the Navy because he had a brother and six first cousins who were in the Navy. So, on Friday, August 13, 1943, he was officially drafted into the Navy. During World War II, he was a gunner’s mate in the Pacific Theater, which was the part of war fought between the USA and Japan.   After spending 27 months in the Navy, he was discharged from the New Orleans Naval Station on November 7, 1945. He then returned home and continued his work at the Alatex in the shipping department. He remained with the Andalusia factory until it closed, and he then commuted to the Montgomery plant until his retirement in 1980.

Afterwards, he enjoying continuing with his favorite hobbies of fishing and hunting along with gardening. He can still be seen puttering around in a fine garden in his back yard.

Lester and Bea had one son, Lester Dorrell Thomasson who was born September 10, 1947, when they lived on Sutton Road near Heath. They also have one grandson, Less Thomasson, who lives in Andalusia and two great-granddaughters: Emma who lives in Fairhope, Alabama, and Ashtynn who lives in Phoenix City, Ala.

Lester became a Christian by obeying the gospel at the Heath Church of Christ in 1947. He and Bea were living in the Heath community where they resided during the late 1940s until 1951. He later rededicated his life and was baptized at the Central Church of Christ in Andalusia by Brother Eddie Finch. After Dorrell began attending Cedar Grove around 2002, Lester decided to attend with him.

It is remarkable how one of his age has been so blessed with reasonably good health and very sound mind. Fortunately, he has been faithful in church attendance and actively participates in the worship services. He is appreciated so much and is saluted as a fine Christian gentleman and one who has become a centenarian!

Anyone who might have a comment or question regarding this column is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.