Wilhelmina Roberta Lewis Hester died peacefully at home in Norman, OK, on December 23, 2019. She was born January 8, 1929, in Deer Creek, OK, to Col. Robert Loren Lewis and Ortud Wilhelmina Meier Lewis. She was the youngest of their seven children, and her brothers nicknamed her “Bill” when she was born. As a result of her father’s military service prior to and during World War II, her family relocated frequently to army bases in Illinois, Oregon, Alabama, and, eventually, Lawton, OK, where she graduated from high school in 1947. An outgoing and enthusiastic student, she formed lasting friendships with many classmates and impressed her teachers with her scholarship and love of learning.
At Lawton High School, she was Drum Majorette, Football Queen, and a member of the Honor Society, Tennis Club, and Sub Deb Sorority. After her freshman year at Cameron University in Lawton, Bill went on to the University of Miami, where she received a B.A. degree, Magna Cum Laude, in Journalism and Home Economics. At the U. of M., she was a member of Chi Omega Sorority, the 1950 Homecoming Queen, and the 1951 Florida Ambassador of Good Will to the annual Spring Fiesta of the Mexican Government. In June 1951, ten days after graduating from college, she married her high school sweetheart, John C. “Jake” Hester whom she met at Lawton High School at the start of her junior year. The two settled in Lawton where they raised their family.
Bill was active in many civic organizations in Lawton and in Norman including Junior Service League, PTA, American Association of University Women, Chapter BY (Lawton) and EQ (Norman) of PEO, and The Lawton Philharmonic. She was also a lifetime member of Centenary United Methodist Church. She was an ardent supporter of her children’s pursuits: making costumes for dance recitals, attending piano recitals and sports events, and joining her children at Mom’s Day at the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, the University of Texas, and Texas Tech University. She was a pillar of strength behind her husband’s business successes.
Jake and Bill were adventurous travelers: both obtained private pilot’s licenses and they spent their retirement traveling the world, including two trips around the world on the Concorde. While on a fishing trip to Canada, Bill caught a record-breaking lake trout. They also drove the Alaska-Canada Highway twice. While she loved to travel, some of her happiest moments were the summer weekends she shared with family at Possum Kingdom Lake in Texas.
Bill is survived by her husband, Jake, of the home; four children, Lynn Runyon of Dallas, TX, Brenda Towe of Lawton, OK, John Hester and wife Ladye of Oklahoma City, OK, and Jan Richardson and husband Tom of Norman, OK; nine grandchildren, John Runyon of Seattle, WA, Joseph Billau and wife Cherry, Justin Billau, and Benjamin Billau, all living in England, Michael Towe and wife Ashley of Lawton, OK, Jeffrey Towe of Georgetown, TX, Carley Hester Morales and husband James of Lawton, OK, Ashley Hester and Justin Guerrant of Columbia, MO, and Julia Hester of Oklahoma City, OK; and six great grandchildren, Victor Morales, Makenzie and Cooper Towe, Gan, Remy, and Lily Billau. She is also survived by her sisters, Betty Lewis Marable of Waco, TX, and Doris Lewis Smith of Atlanta, GA; and her brother-in-law, David C. Hester and wife Jo of Claremore, OK. She was preceded in death by her daughter, Robbe Ann Hester; her parents; and four siblings.
A Memorial Service will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, January 3, 2020, at Centenary United Methodist Church in Lawton, OK.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, 300 NE 18th Street, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105.
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Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
300 NE 18th Street, Oklahoma City OK 73105