John D. “Jack” Lesser passed away at RiverMead Lifecare Community in Peterborough, NH, on November 8, 2020.
Jack was born on September 2, 1927 in Warren, PA. He was predeceased by his parents, Byron Virgil Lesser and Beatrice (Bradley-Kerr) Lesser, and by his four siblings: Bob Lesser, Barbara Porter, Jeanne Richards, and Ann Lesser.
Jack graduated from Warren High School in 1945. After a year at the Bullis School in Silver Spring, MD, he received an appointment to the United States Naval Academy, where he was a member of the wrestling team and the Naval Academy choir. His Naval Academy yearbook entry described him as a “Jack of All Trades”. He graduated from Annapolis with an Electrical Engineering degree in 1950 and married his high school sweetheart, Eleanor Mae Peters of Irvine, PA.
Following graduation, Jack was commissioned in the Air Force. He had learned to fly at age 15 while he was still in high school. In the Air Force, he flew the F-80 fighter jet during the Korean Conflict.
Upon the death of his father in 1954, Jack returned to Warren to assume management of the B.V. Lesser Insurance Agency. In 1961, he and his young family moved to Bradford, PA, where he took a job as the production manager for the electronic components division of Corning Glassworks. In 1972, he was transferred to company headquarters in Corning, NY where he led the Total Quality Management team.
After his retirement in 1983, he and Ellie moved to Chautauqua, NY. Jack was active in the Chautauqua Catholic Community and served on the Board of Trustees of the Chautauqua Institution. They moved from Chautauqua to RiverMead in 2011.
Jack will be remembered for his sense of humor and boundless curiosity. Family vacations involved towing a Shasta mini-trailer across the country to expose his children to new places and ideas. After retirement, he and Ellie sailed along the coast of Maine and traveled internationally. He was a talented artist and master craftsman, working in wood, glass, metal, and other media. He built furniture, musical instruments, clocks, boats, and radio-controlled model aircraft and sailboats. He tinkered with countless quirky gadgets that made life more fun and interesting. He fueled his lifelong passion for flying as a glider pilot and ultimately donated his record-breaking sailplane to the National Soaring Museum. He continued to fly radio-controlled model aircraft well into his 90’s and could be found chasing grandchildren and residents through the halls of RiverMead with his drone.
He is survived by Ellie, his wife of 70 years, and by six children: Kathy Callahan (John) of Littleton, CO, David Lesser (Rosemary) of Ogden UT, Tom Lesser (Kathy) of Frederick, MD, Reverend Rick Lesser of Round Lake, NY, Jim Lesser (Liz) of Belfast, ME, and Mary Lesser of Peterborough, NH. He is also survived by 18 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren, and his beloved cat, Mikey.
The family wishes to express our deepest appreciation for the love and care that has been shown to Jack by the staff at RiverMead and the Oncology Department of the Monadnock Community Hospital.
Due to restrictions imposed by the COVID pandemic, a celebration of life service will be scheduled at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in Jack's name to: MCH - Oncology Fund, Monadnock Community Hospital, Dept of Philanthropy, 452 Old Street Road, Peterborough, NH 03458
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