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Whitney Merritt Lester was born Sep. 27, 1916 in Beaumont, Texas to the union of Whitney and Carnellia Lester. At an early age he accepted Christ and was baptized at the Church of the Living God in Beaumont, Tx. Lester moved to Oakland in 1943 and went to work for the U.S. Government where he served as a Safety Officer for nearly 32 years before retiring. He met and married Luella McLemore Thompson and they both became active members of the community and the church. They both served faithfully at the Church by The Side of the Road under the leadership of Reverend A.S. Jackson. Working in the church, led Lester to obtain a degree in ministry from the Bay Cities Institute. After graduating, Lester was licensed and later ordained for ministry through Reverend A.S. Jackson whom he also served under as Associate Pastor. Years later, Rev. Lester was selected to serve as the Senior Pastor of Independent Community Church. It was here that Rev. Lester’s ministry and testimony to God’s faithfulness begin to flourish. Rev. Lester departed this life on November 25th and leaves to cherish his memories his wife Luella Lester, 2 daughters, Donita R. Lester-Bell and Kimberly Lester, 3 grandsons, Jovan Chambers, Whitney Jackson, and Jonathan Bell, 1 granddaughter, Briana Luella-Catherine Bell, 3 sisters, and a host of nephews, nieces, extended family and friends.