ROCHESTER - Lester Dean Charles died peacefully on Friday, February 19, 2016, at age 95.
"Let," as he was known to his family and many friends, was born in Ipswich, Mass., in 1920, the youngest of the three children of Otho and Stella Charles.
Graduation from Hamilton High School in 1939 was followed by service in the Navy in World War II. Service - to family, to community, to country - was a theme that continued throughout Let's rich and full life.
He married Shirley E. Sillars in 1951, the beginning of a love affair that spanned more than six decades and never ended, though Shirley passed away in 2015. The pair raised five daughters and a son, who in turn gave the couple 12 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, each and every one adored by the large man with an even larger heart.
Let wore many hats during a working life from which he finally "retired" at age 74 to enjoy gardening and Sox games, among many other pursuits. He is most well-known for 25 years of service to his hometown as a member of the Hamilton Police Department. Let retired as a sergeant, and more impressively, as someone fondly remembered for performing the most difficult of jobs with humility and empathy.
Though he always joked that the, "first 100 years are the hardest," he never made them seem so. Each of Let's days carried the grace, joy, and dignity with which he lived and inspired in others, along with the opportunity to enjoy the fabled "Charles cut" of pie.
Let is predeceased by sisters Mildred and Ruth, and beloved wife Shirley. He is survived by six children: Carol A. Axelrod and her husband Richard, of Viera, Fla.; Christine E. Saunders of Danvers, Mass.; Lee M. Murphy and her husband Barry, of Farmington, N.H.; Lorraine C. Hill and her husband Arthur, of Medical Lake, Wash.; Joyce E-M. Geminder and her husband David, of Gorham, N.H.; and Lt. CDR (Ret.) Retired Lt. CDR Todd W. Charles and his wife Denise, of Aeia, Hawaii.