Thank You Lee Lester Family!
Lee Lester was born into a farming family and begin farming on his own at the age of 17. He later
convinced his brother Ray to join him in business when Ray was released from the U.S. Navy in 1946. Together, the Lester Brothers farmed more than 700 acres of prunes, apricots, cherries and walnuts. They owned some ranches and leased others. Lee married Eva Daggett in 1952 and, a year later, built their first home on Almaden Road at the family ranch. Their daughter Linda, was born in 1954.
In addition to running the ranches, Lee also had his own business spraying pesticides for not only his family orchards, but for other farmers. Resourceful from the start, Lee designed and hand built much of his own farm and fruit processing equipment.
History San José still uses his modified orchard forklift, which he donated more than 25 years ago!
In 1969, the Lester brothers took over care of orchards on IBM's main facility on Cottle Road and at the Santa Teresa Laboratory. They disked, irrigated, pruned and picked fruit to sell for processing. They cared for the IBM properties for over 30 years. Lee served the community in a number of capacities from being the President of the Santa Clara County Farm Bureau; to the Director of San Jose Production Credit Association; to Director of the San Jose Chamber. Lee is a founding member of the Silicon Valley Capital Club and past President of the Rotary Club of San Jose.
As the fruit growing industry slowly declined in the Santa Clara Valley, Lee exercised intuition
and confidence and began investing and developing properties in the Valley. Linda Lester worked with her father managing Lester Investment Properties, ultimately becoming the owner. Linda's son Ryan Lester is also actively involved in the family business overseeing tenant improvements for multiple properties as he continues the family legacy.
Like her father, Linda embodies a truly generous heart. Her primary passion in life is philanthropy. She is committed to helping those who are underserved in our community, from individuals with special needs to those with medical challenges. She is also dedicated to promoting animal welfare, and strives to help strengthen numerous educational and arts organizations. She takes pride in personally learning the details surrounding the needs and positive outcomes of each and every organization she helps.
Her most recent contributions include dedicating the Linda L. Lester Equestrian Center with Via Services; sponsoring Unity Care, Cancer CAREpoint, Valley Medical Association,
Stroke Awareness Foundation, San Jose Police Foundation, Humane Society of Santa Clara Valley; as well as Jazz on the Plazz, Happy Hollow Park & Zoo Foundation,
Kristi Yamaguchi's Dream Foundation, The Sourisseau Academy and History San José. It is her wish that she will inspire others to join her on her philanthropic journey!