Irma & Richard Lester
Since the writing of this page, Irma has passed away (April 2017). Following is our announcement:
On April 16th, the Red Bank Humanists lost member and dear friend Irma Lester. Irma was a Red Bank Humanists board member for many years. She was also a facilitator of the RBH book group; a member of the RBH Programming Committee; founder and past chair of the RBH Community Outreach Group; and a volunteer for the RBH coffee crew. You may know Irma, and her husband Dick Lester, from their years womanning/manning the Welcome Table at our forums. Irma also presented several forums, including "The War on Women", "Being Mortal", and "Poverty in America"; and coordinated several of our salons, including the well received art and music salons, which showcased the talents of our members.
It goes without saying that Irma leaves a significant void in our community - not only for the ways she supported RBH - but also for her roles as loving wife to member Dick Lester; devoted mother to member Brian Leifman; and friend and mentor to many.
Link to Irma's obituary.
Here is the original text about Irma and DIck:
Dick and Irma live in Brick, N.J. and are the parents of 6 children (5 sons, and one daughter) 3 each from previous marriages. Irma's daughter passed away 20 years ago.
Irma was born in the Bronx, and Dick hails from East Orange. Irma was brought up with a Jewish background, and Dick was an Episcopalian, even an altar boy at one time. Any religious beliefs faded away while they were young.
Irma went to the High School of Performing Arts in NY, and went on to Blacktown College in Illinois, where she was exposed to fundamentalist beliefs. Dick went to Upsala College in NJ.
Irma was a professor of Women’s Studies at Brookdale for 35 years, and was instrumental in founding diversity programs. Dick taught 4th grade in Lakewood for 46 years. (I am surprised he has retained his sanity to this day!)
Irma and Dick's family were brought up in Ethical Culture. They were all involved in social issues, anti-war, feminism, abortion rights, etc. Irma feels that her Jewish heritage, which stresses social justice (Tikkun Olan) which means Heal The World, was the impetus for her lifelong activism.
After retirement, Irma and Dick were introduced to RBH by her son Brian. They were searching for a community, and found it at RBH. They are very active in many areas, programming, book club, as presenters, plus belonging to a poetry and writing club.
Their plans for the future are "to have a future!!!! They will continue to support RBH in any way possible.
Their favorite things are: family, friends, poetry, math, reading, swimming, short distance "hobbling," good wine, cooking, music, having political, philosophical and science discussions/arguments. They are very upset by the decline of women's rights, income inequality, environmental degradation, and the rise of fundamentalism.
They promote humanism by "living it," and having a partner to share their interests and activism. And by being sensitive, compassionate, and caring. Their lives are a testament to how one can be "good without god."
Irma and Dick are the "so very kind and helpful" couple who are at the welcome table when you come to the Forum, another one of the ways they support RBH.