Dr. Lorayne Lester


Dr. Lorayne Woy Lester passed away on Friday, May 9, 2014. A native of Birmingham, Ala., her family later moved to Chattanooga. She subsequently attended The University of Tennessee and graduated with the bachelor of science (57), master of arts (60), and doctorate of education (75) degrees. A 42-year career with the university as an educator and administrator began as an instructor in the Department of English in the College of Education. In 1978, she was appointed head of the Department of Speech and Theatre. Eight years later, as a full Professor, she was named head of the new Department of Speech Communication. In 1990, she became Associate Dean of academic programs in the College of Arts and Sciences and, in 1996, was appointed the first female Dean of the College, the oldest and largest on UTs campus. She was passionate about helping women at UT-students, faculty and staff-to succeed and progress. She remained as Dean until her retirement in 2002. Professional and volunteer affiliations include: Association for Communication Administration, American Association of University Women, East Tennessee Historical Society, US Army Reserve 489th Civil Affairs Family Support Liaison, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, First Families of Tennessee, Gatlinburg Scottish Highland Games, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee, Southeastern Theatre Conference, Tennessee Theatre Association, UT Army ROTC Rocky Top Battalion-Honorary Colonel, UT Athletic Board, UT Commencement Speaker-December 2002, UT Faculty Senate, and UT Friends of the Library. On March 27, 2014, Dr. Lester was inducted into the Educators Hall of Honor in the UT College of Education. She was an avid supporter of Clarence Brown Theatre, the Knoxville Museum of Art, and the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. Preceded in death by her husband, Frank Allen Lester; parents, Charles and Victoria Woy, and brother, Edgar Woy. Survived by daughter and son-in-law, Allison L. Lester and Samuel A. Shipman; son and daughter-in-law, Gregory F. Lester and Dr. Christine R. Lester; grandchildren, Athena Grace Lester and Abram Gregory Lester; brother and sister-in-law, Charles and Mary Woy, Chattanooga; brother and sister-in-law, Russell and Janet Woy, Shelby, N.C.; brother, Joseph Woy, Huntsville Ala.; sister-in-law, Norma Woy, Oak Ridge; and numerous nieces and nephews. The family will receive friends from 1:30-4 p.m. on Saturday, May 17, 2014 at Rose Mortuary Mann Heritage Chapel, 6200 Kingston Pike. A memorial service will follow in the chapel. Interment is private. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to the Lorayne W. Lester Award Endowment (#F010001651), c/o the Office of Annual Giving, University of Tennessee Foundation, 2021 Stephenson Drive, Knoxville TN 37996-4514. On-line condolences may be extended at www.rosemortuary.com. Arrangements by Rose Mortuary Mann Heritage Chapel.

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