John Robert Hester, 70, of Spalding, England, formerly of Memphis, retired
teacher for Frayser and Craigmont high schools after 39 years, died March
2 in Spalding. Services will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Memorial Park Funeral
Home with burial in Hillcrest Cemetery in Fulton, Miss. He was a member
and organist of Frayser Baptist Church and former organist for Independent
Presbyterian and Farmington Presbyterian churches. He leaves a brother,
William Kenneth Hester of Germantown. The family requests that any memorials
be sent to Southwoods Baptist Missionary Fund or a charity of the donor's
Mr. John Hester From Commercial Appeal, March 16, 2005


Tribute to Mr. Hester

July 28, 2005

Memories of Mr. Hester from Mitch McCracken


Gary Coughlan
Educator John Hester shared love of England with students
By Stephen D. Price
March 17, 2005

As an English teacher, John Robert Hester passed his love of the language and British culture to his students. When he retired, he took that love to England and lived in a cottage in Spalding.

"One of his students called me today and said he turned him around," said Pernie Hester, wife of William Kenneth Hester, John Hester's brother. "He did that for a lot of students."

Mr. Hester died of prostate cancer March 2 in Spalding. He was 70.

After teaching for 39 years at Craigmont and Frayser high schools and running an American folk art and British specialty business (John's Country Shop and Hester Square) he moved to England in 1996.

A trip to England in 1970 changed his life.

"I was very provincial before that trip," Mr. Hester told The Commercial Appeal in 1996.

When he returned his outlook on life and teaching was renewed. The British flag hung in his classroom, British memorabilia and posters on the walls.

"He devoted his life to his work and his mother," Pernie Hester said.

Mr. Hester was a member and organist of Frayser Baptist Church and former organist for Independent Presbyterian and Farmington Presbyterian.

Services will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Memorial Park Funeral Home with burial in Hillcrest Cemetery in Fulton, Miss.


My Mother just talked with a family member and the current plan is a visitation at 10:00am Friday followed by the Memorial Service aprox. 10:30am. The obituary is supposed to be in the CA tomorrow (Wed). They have been known to make mistakes so if you're unsure you can check with Memorial Gardens.

Although I didn't speak with him as often as Mitch, my family and I have toured England and Europe with John many times and I frequently saw him in his shop in East Memphis. In fact I had the joy of touring with him and a small group last June. While we drove through the Lincolnshire countryside John had adopted as his second home, we talked and laughed about the Frayser years. John told me how proud he was of ALL the Frayser students, not just his own. He championed our decency, diligence and talent to students at his last teaching position, holding us up as an example of the standards he expected. Aside from my family, no other single person has influenced me more than John. I miss him dearly but am thankful I was able to travel with him and visit with his friends at his home in Spalding.
Marsha Terry Rider '71

Thank you so much for the information.
I really appreciate it as Mr. Hester was
a great influence in my life as well.

There is a Chinese proverb that says,
"For every old person that dies,
an entire library burns down".
I feel this is so very true with the loss of
our beloved Mr. Hester.

For me John Hester was THE teacher. He put me on the right track to better grades by using the fact that I loved to be on stage. He was the one that told me I should get into broadcasting when I was in the 9th grade. I have stayed in touch with him over the years, talking to him at least once a year or so. He was the first person that I
had dinner with when I returned to Memphis five years ago. He was a special man that believed in me when my family was going through a divorce. He was there whenever I needed him to be, had he not been,
I don't know what would have happened to me. I have had a wonderful life in broadcasting and none of it would be possible without him. I am so glad that I told him what he meant to me at that dinner, I will miss him greatly; he was my teacher, my mentor and my friend.

Mitch McCracken

Hello Everyone,

I just heard from a teacher/friend yesterday, that John Hester
has died in London. The service is to be at Memorial Park
here in Memphis. Don't know the details yet as they are
having trouble with red tape transporting his body.

If anyone else can find more on this sad news, please share
it with all of us. I will do the same. It's wonderful to have
this website to keep us close.

Thanks, Judy (Helm) Warren
Challenged us to think and to express ourselves. Gave me permission to read Playboy. *S* - Randy Byrd
Loved Mr. Hester, Taught me to walk, talk and even how to eat. Many things that I love today can be traced back to what I learned from him. -Donna Prescott Lynch
From: RANDAL BYRD 1969 May 6 2002 9:06:00AM
To: Classmates Staff

There were so many memorable teachers. Mr. Pierce. We called him
"Ernie." He was a hoot. Wore his pants pulled up too high and had that habitual
hacking sound he'd make during lectures. My BEST teacher was Mr. John Hester
for AP Englis my senior year. There were just 10 of us in the class. Five and
five. I was the only "jock" in the class. When we read Shakespeare aloud, all
the "eggheads" read with fake British accents. But I read it like I was
reciting from William Faulkner. Hester loved it.