(Jan. 03, 1932 - Dec. 23, 2020)
Surrounded by his family, passed away peacefully into the arms of our loving God, at Welland Hospital on Dec. 23 2020 in his 89th year. Beloved husband for 68 years to Mary (Gilmore) Fretz. Cherished father of Sandi (Robert) Marr. Caring Pop to Patrick (Vicky) & James (Samantha) Hannigan. Proud great-pop to “dear sweet” Isla Hannigan. Loving brother to Kathryn (late Alvin) Steckley, Howard Jr. (late Jean) Fretz, Lamar (Eileen) Fretz, Hubert (Bev) Fretz, Ken (Jill) Fretz. Brother-in-law to John (Luella) Gilmore. Predeceased by parents Howard & Elva (Sherk) Fretz and siblings Miriam Fretz (Paul), Leroy Fretz (Margie). Loved by many nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, faith communities, and colleagues. Special “adopted” dad to Alain & Jacky Ndibwami & grandpa to Queen, King, Prince, Duke and Princess Ndibwami.
Lester was born & raised in Stevensville. At a young age, he chose to become a follower of Christ. His faith shone through every life choice he made. He met his high school sweetheart, Mary Gilmore at Niagara Christian College. They were married & began their careers in education. Mary and Lester served as teachers in Africa where their daughter, Sandi was born. Returning to Canada, Lester became an Elementary Principal, building strong relationships with students & staff. He was innovative in his educational approaches that expanded students’ appreciation for learning outside the classroom. His teacher’s heart always kept teaching. He left his career in education to serve the Be In Christ denomination in Stewardship & Finance. Lester’s natural ability with finances led him to share his knowledge with organizations, boards and individuals. Gardening and photography were also his passions. He loved giving his garden produce to others along with the conversations he had with those who received. Lester kept history alive with his photography of old barns, homes and even plants he had grown. He had a quick wit, clever sense of humour, and sharp mind. Engaging others in conversation came easy to him.
In his senior years, Lester spent hours on the computer, writing articles & keeping in touch with family & friends. He worked hard to stay up to date with technology frequently. Faith, family & friendships characterized his life. Lester was a generous man who never stopped sharing. He will be greatly missed by many.
Thank you to the medical staff who cared with compassion for Lester: Dr. Rivers, Dr. Sobkowski and nurses on the 6th floor. Arrangements entrusted to the ARMSTRONG FUNERAL HOME & CHAPEL, 179 Clarence Street, Port Colborne. Due to the current Covid situation, a private family service will be held with interment following at Zion Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Mennonite Central Committee or the Wainfleet Be In Christ Living Legacy Fund or the Bertie Church Endowment Fund. Online memories, donations and condolences may be shared at www.armstrongfuneralhome.ca