Cover photo for Cathy Lester's Obituary
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1929 Cathy 2023

Cathy Lester

August 5, 1929 — June 10, 2023

Cathy Lester, 93, of Rockford, was called to her Heavenly Home Saturday, June 10, 2023. Born August 5, 1929 in Elk City, Oklahoma; the daughter of Clarence Mullens and Dolly Ann (Tassey) Mullens.

When Cathy was 10 years old her mother passed away unexpectedly. At this young tender age Cathy became the main caregiver to her younger 3 brothers and 2 sisters. She cooked, washed clothes, was responsible for the household duties and worked in the fields harvesting cotton and other crops. Life was hard but she never lost her sense of joy and sense of humor. One of her favorite stories revolved around raising her brothers. The brothers did listen to their father (when he was home) but not so much to Cathy. One day she needed them to get inside for supper and they were outside playing. Cathy put on a pair of her Dad’s old coveralls and his straw hat, stood at the screen door and using her best gruff voice called out, “Git on home boys.” And it worked, they came running! She was so proud of herself, laughed every time she told this story!

She met Lyle at the Cozy Bar in Durant, Oklahoma, where she was a waitress. The other waitresses also had their eyes on him too. Cathy told them very plainly, “Don’t touch him, he’s mine.” True to her words, Lyle and Cathy were married by the local justice of the peace on October 25, 1952. Together they raised 3 children; Roselena, Emmie Louise and Russell Allen.

Cathy’s greatest joy came from serving the Lord and others. She cared for over 30 children in her home, providing them with loving attention, guidance and meals. She volunteered at Froberg Grade School. Oh how she loved the Lord and wasn’t ashamed to say so. Her favorite phrase was “God is good.” She attended Calvary Baptist Church, received Christ January 23, 1966; baptized February 6, 1966. Was a Sunday School teacher, VBS teacher, worked in the nursery, member of the Women’s Missionary Union, “Sun Beams” Leader and prayer warrior.

Among her other passions were cooking, quilting, baking, crocheting, sewing, working in the garden and in her flower beds. She canned produce from the garden through her 90’s. In her 80’s Cathy settled down to enjoy reading, puzzles, word search, adult gel pen coloring and most of all her smart phone/facebook games.

Cathy adored her grandchildren and great-grandchildren – and they in turn enjoyed spending time with her. She was able to attend the graduations and weddings of all of her grandchildren and felt blessed to be a part of each great-grandchild’s life.

Cathy leaves behind her children, Russ (Cheryl) Lester and Louise (LeRoy) White; grandchildren, Edward Hutson, Danielle (Juston) Stratemeyer, Travis (Danielle) Lester and Keith (Stephanie) Lester; great-grandchildren, Drake Hutson, Brendon Stratemeyer, Neil Stratemeyer, Joel Stratemeyer, Everly Lester, Maxon Lester and several nieces and nephews. Preceded in death by her parents; husband; daughter, Roselena Mullens; step-mother, Goldie Mullens; three brothers; three sisters and one half-brother.

Funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, June 16, 2023 at Calvary Baptist Church, 6286 Linden Road with a visitation starting at 9:30 a.m. Burial in Byron Cemetery. Fitzgerald Funeral Home & Crematory, 1860 S. Mulford Road Rockford, IL 61108 assisted the family. Express condolences online at

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, June 16, 2023

9:30 - 10:30 am (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Friday, June 16, 2023

10:30 - 11:30 am (Eastern time)

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