Russell Hester remembered for his service to Garrard hospital

December 28, 2004

LANCASTER - Russell Hester, 84, a longtime administrator of Garrard County Memorial Hospital as well as a Lancaster businessman and civic leader, died Sunday in Indianapolis.

Hester, who lived on Maplewood Drive, was administrator and served on the hospital board for many years. Under his leadership, Garrard County Memorial Hospital added a senior citizens' home and extended care unit.

Hester held leadership positions with various regional and state health organizations over the years, including president of the Kentucky Hospital Association.

He also served as president of Dix River Country Club, Garrard County Chamber of Commerce, and the Kiwanis. He had chaired both the Lancaster and Garrard County Boards of Education and was a past commander of the American Legion.


He was active in First Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, serving as an elder, Sunday school superintendent and teacher, and clerk of the session. He was active in various Masonic organizations.

Hester had been sales manager of a General Motors dealership and owned and operated a Ford dealership.

"He was a fine man," said Lancaster attorney Cecil Sanders, a lifelong friend of Hester. "Although he had no formal education - he was completely self-educated - he had a great deal of common sense. He advised a lot of people. He was absolutely trustworthy, very patriotic, and will be very missed by our community. I can say that he is surely missed by me."

Sanders said Hester was well-known statewide for the work he did with the Kentucky Hospital Association.

Stuart Powell, owner of Stuart Powell Ford Inc. in Danville, said he met Hester back in 1953 through the automobile industry and became his next-door neighbor soon after.

"He was very involved with the state's hospital board, but he kept his contacts in the car sales business. He was just in here last Thursday completing a deal. I think his clientele stayed loyal to him over the years because of his honesty and integrity. He will be missed for the humanitarian he was," Powell said.

Powell said Hester was known for his work with the Shriner's Club and took children from Lancaster on an annual trip to Lexington to the circus.

Born Nov. 15, 1920, in Garrard County, Hester was the son of the late Edd and Ollie Ball Hester.

He was a World War II veteran, having landed at Omaha Beach and fought in the Battle of the Bulge.

He was involved in many businesses in Garrard County over the course of his life. He was a partner in Hester and Zanone Clothing Store, owned and operated Hester Motor Co., and partnered with Stuart Powell as Powell-Hester Motors.

As president of the Kentucky Hospital Association, he oversaw construction of the KHA headquarters in Louisville. Hester also served on the Southeastern Hospital Conference Board for seven years.

For the last eight years, he was an employee of Spurlin Funeral Home in Lancaster.

Hester was a 32-year member of the Kiwanis Club and a member of the Wilderness Shrine Club and Oleika Shrine Temple.

He was the widower of Evelyn Robinson Hester.

Survivors include four brothers, O'Neal Hester of Frankfort, Robert Hester of Georgetown, Joe Hester of Indianapolis, and Larry Hester of Paint Lick.

Services will be 10 a.m. Thursday at Spurlin Funeral Home by the Rev. Dwight Forderhase. Burial will be in Lancaster Cemetery.

Pallbearers will be Rusty Robinson and Richard, Donnie, David, Ralph and Robbie Hester.

Honorary pallbearers are Cecil Sanders, James Sanders, Stuart Powell, Read Baierlein, Bobby Powell, Phil Price and deacons of First Presbyterian Church.

Visitation will be 3-8 p.m. Wednesday with Masonic rites at 7 p.m.

Memorials may go to Shriner's Hospital.

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