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Welcome to the memorial page for

Raymond Phillip Lester

August 10, 1931 ~ September 23, 2017 (age 86)

Raymond Phillip Lester went to Heaven peacefully at the age of 86 at Denali Center on September 23, 2017 with his family by his side. We all find comfort that he is no longer in pain and is watching over us. No words can describe how much we miss him.


Ray was born August 10, 1931 in Chicago, Illinois. He learned to play the piano at a young age, and loved classical music. At age 12 he and his brother Mike set pins by hand at the bowling alley. Ray moved to Seattle, Washington when he was 15. At age 19, Ray enlisted in the Army and served in the Korean War in a trucking unit. After his military service, he met the love of his life Betty Lou Peterson at the bowling alley. They were married two months later and were together over 63 years. No question about it, they were made for each other and inseparable!


Ray and his family came to Alaska in 1963. They moved briefly back to Seattle, but Alaskan life was in his heart! In 1965 he, his brother Mike, and their families came back north and built a cabin in the Brooks Range at the confluence of the Alatna River and Help-Me-Jack Creek. They lived there through the winter, and the following summer Ray and his family moved to Fairbanks which became home for the next 51 years. They lived on First Avenue just across from the power plant and experienced the 1967 flood. After the flood, they moved to the hills north of town.

Ray’s first job in Fairbanks was as a heavy equipment partsman. He also worked on the pipeline. Ray enjoyed bowling, hunting, fishing, and trapping, however his passion was gold mining. In 1966, Ray and his brother staked their first claims, and what began as a weekend hobby became a way of life after he retired as a Teamster. He mined in the Circle Mining District with his family until 1995.


Ray is survived by his wife Betty, children Ray, Mike (Cindy and grandchildren Staci and Kyle), Darryl (Gina and grandchild Cassie), David (Roxanne and grandchildren Carl, Zach and Sam), Joe (Jen and grandchildren Chance, Reese, Ethan and Seth), Laura (Chad and grandchildren Jamison and Grayson).


Ray is preceded in death by his parents Michael and Stella, brothers Ed, Charles, Mike, sister Charlotte and Grandson Jacob. At his request, there will be no services.


We would like to thank doctors and staff at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and Denali Center for their care and support.


Arrangements provided by Blanchard Family Funeral Home, 611 Noble Street, 907-482-3232. Online condolences may be made at

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