Growing up in Waukegan, Illinois, Lester attended Waukegan Township High School.
He entered Lake Forest in 1925 and lettered all four years in football, baseball and basketball. He was captain of the football and basketball teams his senior year and also served on the Athletic Board of Control, Student Council and the Panhellenic Council. A member of Phi Pi Epsilon and vice president of the L.F. Club, he was also elected to the Iron Key Society.
Graduating with a degree in physics, he started his career-long work for Illinois Bell and married Dorothy Ekstrand '30. Along with serving on the Chicago Association of Commerce and the Western Society of Engineers, he stayed involved with the town of Lake Forest by serving as an Elder at the First Presbyterian Church, a member of the Senior Citizens Advisory Board and volunteering at Lake Forest Hospital.