Lester Charles Larson, 86, of Cleveland, IL, passed away on Monday, October 15, 2018, surrounded by his loving family, at Genesis Medical Center – Illini Campus, in Silvis, IL. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, October 22, at Vandemore Funeral Home & Crematory, Geneseo Chapel. Reverend Dr. Christopher Ritter will officiate. Burial will follow at Dayton Corners Cemetery in Colona, where military honors will be accorded by the Colona American Legion. Visitation will be held on Sunday, October 21, from 3:00 - 6:00 p.m., at the funeral home. Memorials may be made to the Lester Larson Memorial Fund.
Lester was born on October 12, 1932, the son of Kenneth and Hazel (VanKlaveren) Larson, in Oskaloosa, Iowa. He is a proud veteran of the United States Navy. Lester married the love his life, Lillian Bekerian, on July 3, 1955, in Boston, MA. They recently celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary. Nicknamed "Kong," due to his size, Lester worked as a welder for many years. He was later employed as a foreman at John Deere Harvester Works and he installed HVAC systems in his spare time. After retiring from John Deere, he worked with his sons, Mark and Chuck, and their successful firearms manufacturing business, Rock River Arms, in Colona. Lester was a member of the Colona American Legion Post 1233, where he was a commander, helped add on to the building after a fire, and volunteered his time as a cook. He enjoyed fishing and mushroom hunting, as well as wild black raspberry picking and farming sweet corn. He was an avid sports fan, cheering on the Chicago Cubs, Chicago Bears, and back to his “Bostonian” roots - the New England Patriots. Lester enjoyed entertaining his family and friends with large meals including Henny Penny Chicken, Kibby, homemade vegetable and clam chowder soups, and taking things easy by gathering at Frank’s Pizzeria.
Those left to cherish his memory include his wife, Lillian; children, Linda (Jim) White, of Colona, Lisa (Gary) Sides, of Cleveland, IL, Mike (Debbie Tyner) Larson, of Carbon Cliff, IL, and Chuck (Melissa) Larson, of Geneseo; grandchildren, Chad, Jennie, Matt, Jeremy, Sara, Katie, Kenneth, Kassandra, Kyle, Jake, Trenton, and Logan; and great-grandchildren,Kaya, Gage, Paige, Bradlee, Elyn, Kinsley, Brinley, and Maddison. Lester is also survived by his siblings, Vivian Martins, of Geneseo, Keith (Carol) Larson, of Colona, Charles Larson, of Geneseo, and Garold Larson, of Kewanee.
Lester was preceded in death by his parents, Kenneth and Hazel, his son, Mark Larson, and one brother, Herman Larson.