William K. Lester, 84, bred and owned horses

May 14, 2004

William Kenneth Lester, a former box company manager and thoroughbred breeder and owner, died of pneumonia May 7 at Anne Arundel Medical Center. The Annapolis resident was 84.

Mr. Lester was born in Baltimore and raised on West Franklin Street. He graduated in 1937 from City College, where he had been sports editor of the school newspaper. He also was a freelance sports writer for The Sun in the early 1940s.

He briefly served in the Army during World War II until being discharged because of a back injury.

Mr. Lester worked as a box salesman before joining J.E. Smith Box Co. in 1957 and was later general manager of the Millersville company. He retired in 1992.

In 1942, he married Mary Reuding, and for 47 years the couple lived in Severna Park before moving to Annapolitan Assisted Living in 2001.

Mr. Lester indulged his passion for thoroughbred racing when he established Will-Mar Stables -- formed by his name and his wife's. Their racing silks were pink and white.

For more than 20 years, Mr. Lester raced his horses at Pimlico and Laurel courses. He was also the author of The Gemini Fraud, a racetrack novel.

Mr. Lester, an accomplished tenor who had studied at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, sang Latin and Italian Masses at several Roman Catholic churches in Baltimore.

In addition to horseracing, Mr. Lester enjoyed cooking, the opera and listening to the Saturday afternoon broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera Company. He and his wife also liked taking vacation cruises.

A Mass of Christian burial was offered Tuesday at St. Alphonsus Roman Catholic Church in Baltimore.

Survivors, in addition to his wife, include a son, William K. Lester Jr. of Harper, Texas; a daughter, Robin Lester Woodard of Stevensville; six grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.