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Catharina (Katy) Lester



Catharina Dykeman Lester graduated from Oberlin College in 1946 before getting her MA in Education from Syracuse. She then went on to Otterbein, where she served as Dormitory Director before becoming the Girl Scout Executive Director in Massillon, Ohio.


Widowed in 1976, she still has the opportunity to visit regularly with her daughter, Martha, and her two sons, Jon and Greg, when they are in town.


Katy moved to Kendal at Oberlin on October 15,1993. She remembers being impressed that people here were better informed on a variety of topics than the general public, used an extensive vocabulary, and were willing to talk about what they knew so that others might learn and understand.


She has served as KORA treasurer, worked in the Cardinal Shop, and participated in the Stretch and Strengthen program and the square dance group. (She met her husband, Jon Lester, through the square dance group at the YMCA in Massillon.) She finds puzzles addictive, and enjoys swimming in the Kendal pool and walking around the grounds.


Katy enjoys having music and discussion groups here on the Kendal campus since it is difficult for her to get out to events away from here anymore.


She has been active in the League of Women Voters at both the local and state levels for over 50 years, focusing on environmental issues including air and water quality and also public health and women’s rights.


In December 2012, under the auspices of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, she completed a grant to preserve a part of her husband’s family farm in Stark County.


“Community is very important, be it local, national, or even international,” she says. “Part of what drew me to Kendal at Oberlin was the interrelationship of the College with the surrounding community.”


Katy would like more cooperation, congeniality, and willingness to listen. “We need to take advantage of the knowledge of the members of the community who have specific training and skills,” she observes. “Doing things well is more important than doing things quickly.”


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