Lester Allen Shipley passed away on June 26, 2023. He was 91. The son of Oren Homer and Martha (Plattner) Shipley and the youngest of 10 children, Lester was born on March 17, 1932, in Everett, Cass County, Missouri. When Lester was four years old, his father passed away. Growing up in rural Cass County on the edge of the Amarugia Highlands, he attended a one-room schoolhouse until high school.
Lester graduated from Archie High School in 1950 and married Thelma Hodges, his high school sweetheart, in 1952. In the early 1950s, they lived near Mainz, Germany as part of Lester’s service in the Army, where Lester drove an MG. They explored Europe at every possible opportunity and took thousands of pictures, meticulously chronicled by Thelma in scrapbooks. After discharge from the Army, Lester shipped his MG back to the States and promptly sold it to buy a truck to launch his construction business. He and Thelma set up their household in Lee’s Summit in 1956. A talented carpenter, Lester contributed much to his community during his career as a general contractor. He built countless houses, each to his exacting standards, creating beautiful, superior-quality homes for so many families and impacting their lives for good. Through his best friend, Buck Langsford, Lester began to build commercial buildings, including Langsford Funeral Home in Lee’s Summit. His construction legacy and work ethic live on in his two sons and his grandsons.
Lester served as a deacon at the First Baptist Church of Lee’s Summit and taught sixth grade Sunday School for boys. He and Thelma served as sponsors of church youth camp for several years. Lester’s priority was always his dear wife and his family. Lester and Thelma dedicated their time to attending every single game that their three children played, from little league baseball/softball to college, traversing several states. In the late 1980s, he and Thelma were among the founders of Cornerstone Baptist Church. Lester and Thelma were the bedrock of Lee’s Summit’s High School Athletics, attending almost all games and keeping score for the girls’ basketball team, supporting team after team, year after year. In his later years, Lester volunteered for a variety of local charities, and it was not uncommon to hear him utter “Amen” in response to questions.
Lester was preceded in death by his wife Thelma, his sweet granddaughter, Lindsey Wall, and his nine siblings. He is survived by his son Kent and wife Dee, son Kevin and wife Teri, and his daughter Lisa Wall and her husband Roy, eight grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be held on July 14, 2023 from 4-6pm at Langsford Funeral Home, Lee’s Summit, Missouri. A family-only graveside service is planned at the Missouri Veterans Cemetery in Higginsville. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Lester’s name to Coldwater at www.coldwater.me, a faith-based non-profit food pantry and clothes closet started by Cornerstone Baptist Church or to Catholic Community Health, a non-profit hospice care, at www.catholiccommunityhospice.com.