Lester E. Tufts

Rev. Lester Edson Tufts went peacefully to be with his Lord on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020.

Lester was born September 25, 1927 in Ayer, MA to Henry and Jeanette (Williams) Tufts, orchardists and apple brokers in Harvard, MA. When the orchard was destroyed by the Great New England Hurricane of 1938, they moved to East Lebanon, ME in 1940 where they raised fruit and flowers that they sold locally.

Eager to do his part in World War II, Lester enlisted as a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Force at 17. Instructed to finish high school, he reported immediately after his 18th birthday. With World War II winding down, there was little need for pilots. Instead, he entered service at nearby Fort Devens in Ayer, then boarded a train to Scott Field in St. Claire, IL where he was trained as a teletype operator. He sailed for Europe on a troop ship, guarding German prisoners of war. He continued his service in the U.S. Army after the Army Air Force disbanded in 1947 and was honorably discharged in 1948.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Gordon College in 1953. While in college, he met his wife, Ruby McEwen. They were married August 1, 1953. Together, they attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago to prepare for the ministry. They set aside plans to stay in Chicago in 1954 when Lester was called to a summer pastorate at the Fayette Baptist Church in Fayette, ME. That fall, he enrolled at Gordon Theological Seminary where he earned his Bachelor of Divinity in 1958. Lester pastored three small Baptist churches in LeMoyne, Trenton, and Hancock on the Maine coast until 1961. He served Jay Baptist Church in Jay, ME through 1966. He spent the next 27 years as pastor of the Danby and East Dorset, VT Congregational churches.

Upon retirement, he and Ruby moved back to Maine to care for Ruby’s mother and aunt. In 1997, they relocated to Nelliston, NY where they built a home to be near grandchildren. They downsized to a smaller home in Canajoharie, NY in 2016.

His anchor was his Savior as revealed in the Bible, which he read and studied even in retirement. He loved to garden and continually strove to care for God’s creation.

Lester is survived by his wife Ruby; brother Melvin and Norma Tufts of Taylors, SC; daughter Heather and Cuyle Rockwell of Palatine Bridge, NY; son Peter Tufts of East Dorset, VT; daughter Heidi and Phil Zandy of Manchester, VT; son Andrew and Sarah Tufts of Windsor, VT; eight grandchildren, three great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.

The family will celebrate his life with a graveside service at the family cemetery in East Lebanon, ME at their convenience.