Dorothea Lester Chavis

May 13, 2022

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The Life of Dorothea Lester Chavis

Emily Dorothea Lester Chavis, the eldest of four was born to Rev. John Alpheus Lester and Mary Blaylock Lester on June 12th, 1926, in Raleigh, North Carolina. She entered into eternal life on Friday, May 13th, 2022, in East Orange, New Jersey.

Dorothea attended Washington elementary, middle, and high schools. She attended St. Paul AME until her teenage years. She later joined St. Ambrose Episcopal church when Father Fisher was the Rector. At St. Ambrose Episcopal church she sang in the all girls choir under the directorship of Uncle Hubert Towns. Mr. Herndon Toole discovered her melodious soprano voice and accompanied her in many recitals during her teenage years. Upon graduating in 1945, she attended Shaw University graduating in 1950. A gifted seamstress, Dorothea began designing clothes for herself and other members of the family and neighborhood. She pursued her talent by obtaining her bachelor's degree in Home Economics from Shaw University.

Before leaving Raleigh Mrs. Willie Otey Kay mentored and taught Dorothea how to do the delicate beading technique for wedding and debutante gowns. On several occasions she assisted Ms. Willie Otey Kay with the elaborate tedious work on high end garments further enhancing her skillset.

Her formal teaching career began in Goldsboro, NC. where she met and married the love of her life Leonard Chavis. They returned to Len's hometown Newark, New Jersey. Dorothea taught Home Economics in New Jersey for 30 years before retiring and relocating in Raleigh, NC in 1988. A consummate professional, she spent her career developing a reputation as one of the most "Outstanding Home Economics and Family and Consumer Educators" in Newark, for her steadfast position on proper presentation always modeling class and elegance in all areas while at school, at family gatherings and in the community.

She and her husband, Leonard retired and returned to Raleigh in 1988, rejoined St, Ambrose church and attended regularly. She loved to read and would check out an entire shopping bag full of books regularly from her local Wake County library. She was a member of the Les Cousettes and Quettes social clubs and enjoyed the fellowship and fun.

Dorothea is survived by sons; Michael Leonard (Janet) Terrance Lester (Yvonne); Son-in-law, Steven Daggs Sr, grandchildren: Jahari E Jacobs (Jonathan) Michael L Chavis jr, Steven R. Daggs, and Safiya L. Daggs; sister, Gloria Wilhelmina Lester Feimster, godchild, Angel Mia Feimster; sisters – in -law-; Mazie Lester and Cassie A. Lester; Nieces, Freda Lester and Aprile Raquel Lester, great grandchildren Janelle, Joy, and Joel Jacobs and numerous extended family and friends.

Her funeral service will be held at 9:00 AM Thursday May 26, 2022 at St. Ambrose Episcopal Church, 813 Darby Street, Raleigh, NC. Her Interment will follow the service at the Raleigh National Cemetery, 501 Rock Quarry Road, Raleigh, NC 27610.

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Funeral Service
May 26, 2022

9:00 AM
St. Ambrose Episcopal Church (Darby Street, Raleigh, NC)

Video is available for this event

Interment following funeral service
May 26, 2022

Raleigh National Cemetery
501 Rock Quarry Road
Raleigh, NC 27610

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