Lester Milton Bugbee, son of Lester Gordon Bugbee and Marie Yvonne (Rouleau) Bugbee, passed away April 18, 2018, at age 99, after a short but gallant battle with cancer. He was born September 8, 1918 in Fitchburg, MA and moved to this area as a toddler. Third oldest of nine, he attended Waterville Central School, dropping out in 9th grade to help support his family. As a teenager, he worked on a farm for $30 a month, room, board and laundry. For 3 months, he harnessed a team of 4 horses and walked behind them for dragging and haying; he said the farmer never paid him, but did buy him clothes. He worked on other farms before joining the trucking industry. He spent some time with a moving company, then made deliveries to the Adirondacks, followed by over-the-road driving for Consolidated Freightways, which merged with several other trucking companies to become Associated Transport. When they discontinued business in 1976, he worked 2 more years for Roadway Trucking before retiring. He drove school bus for WCS until forced by age regulations to retire again in 1983. He loved the kids, enjoyed talking with them, giving out mittens that Carol made and especially loved running into them years later as adults.
Lester married his love-at-first-sight girl, Carol E. Chapman on July 12, 1942, at Bethany Presbyterian Church, Utica, NY. Married for 69 years before she passed away in 2011, he called her his angel. Lester served in the U.S. Army from 1943-1945, helping with U.S. Bond tours based from Camp Campbell, Kentucky. Carol moved to Kentucky to be nearby until he was shipped overseas to Holland, France and Belgium with Army Unit 452nd Ordinance Evac., when she returned to Utica to await his return. He shipped home from LaHarve, France, with Unit 414, in December of 1945. Daughter, Judith (with Judy Garland in mind) was born in September of 1946 and son, Roger (honoring a fellow soldier) arrived Christmas day, 1949. They all moved to their home in Deansboro in January of 1950. In later years, everyone enjoyed his stories about the things he did and saw during the war, no doubt filtered to tell only the benign parts. As a "weekend farmer", he kept chickens for many years, one cow for milk, home-made butter and ice cream, and raised one "beefer" at a time. He always, always, had an extensive garden, which provided good eats in summer, including corn roasts with neighbors, and kept Carol busy pickling, canning, and freezing. The rhubarb plants, grape vines and fruit trees he planted produced a bounty he enthusiastically shared with family, friends and neighbors.
Lester loved the 'busman's holiday' vacation travel with Carol, Judy and Roger, often dining at truck-stops he frequented when working, to introduce waitresses and staff to his family. In later years, he and Carol traveled to Hawaii, Tahiti, Curacao, the Bahamas, Samoa and Moorea, among other places. For 24 years they crossed the country each March, heading south then crossing to California and returning again, sightseeing, visiting relatives and old friends, making new friends all along the way and bringing back dates and pecans for everyone at home. They were regulars at local diners, restaurants and neighborhood and community events; Lester continued all that after Carol's passing. At some point he started handing out Andes Mints, which became his trademark right to the end.
In addition to daughter, Judith Carol Bugbee Manchester, son Roger Gordon Bugbee and special friend Colette Pierce, all of Deansboro, Lester is survived by grandchildren and their spouses, Bethany J. (Adam) Sposato, Putman Valley, NY; David M. Manchester, Rush, NY; Daniel W. (Jessica) Manchester, West Henrietta, NY; Phillip G. and Virginia Bugbee, Deansboro; and great-grandchildren, Miranda and Samuel Sposato; Alexander and Silas Manchester and Jakob Lane; and Jacob, Nicholas and Nathaniel Bugbee; many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, grand-nephews, great-grand nieces and great-grand nephews. He is also survived by sister Barbara Ivany and brother-in-law Lawrence Morton both of New Jersey. In addition to his parents, he is predeceased by sisters and brothers-in-law Pricilla Geiser, Lillian and Jay Belfield, Blanch (Bunny) Morton, Whitfield (Bud) Ivany, Yvonne (Cookie) Wilson, and brothers and sisters-in-law, Herman and Emily Bugbee, Raymond and Reba Bugbee, Robert and Jeanette Bugbee, and sister- and brother-in-law Lois and Lawrence Beswick, brothers- and sisters-in-law Warren and Evelyn Chapman, Lynn and Margaret Chapman.
Cremation will be handled by Burgess & Tedesco Funeral Home, Waterville, NY. There will be no calling hours. A memorial service will be held at the United Church of Christ, Deansboro, NY, April 27th at 1:00, followed by a party in the Church Hall. Lester spoke several times about how he didn't want to disappoint his friends if he didn't make it to his 100th birthday because they were looking forward to his party so much. The gathering in the Church Hall is Lester's gift to his family and friends, and an "almost-100" celebration of his life. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Deansboro Fire Department.
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