ATHENS – Mary Lester Betts, 82, died Wednesday, February 18, 2009, at Arbor Terrace, an assisted living facility in Athens.
Born in Royston on September 6, 1926, she was the daughter of the late Reece Lester Sr. and Leila Mae Darnell Lester.
She was the first female president of the Athens Chamber of Commerce, the first Silver Medalist of the Athens Ad Club, first female Athens Jaycees “Boss of the Year”, first female president of the United Way of Northeast Georgia, first female installed in the Georgia Association of Broadcasting Hall of Fame, first Athens Woman of the Year winner, and first to be honored with the coveted Athena Award. In 1996 she established a trust to provide a full four year scholarship annually to a female University of Georgia broadcast journalism student.
Survivors include two sisters and one brother, Eva Spencer and Blanche Cartey, both of Athens, and Reece C. Lester Jr., Crawford; along with a host of nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, February 21, at 2 p.m., at the First Baptist Church of Athens, with Jon Appleton officiating. The Board of Directors for the Classic Center Authority will serve as pallbearers. Honorary pallbearers include the Athena Award recipients and the Pilot Clubs of Athens. Burial will be in Evergreen Memorial Gardens.
The family will receive friends Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, the family request contributions be made to the First Baptist Church of Athens, 355 Pulaski St., Athens, GA 30601.
Bernstein Funeral Home, Athens, is in charge of arrangements.