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Helena, Montana

Lester Reynolds: 100 Years of Life 
by Linda M. Le Vake Reynolds 

Les and Phyllis Reynolds
Lester C. Reynolds, former Twin Bridges Montana Superintendent of Schools, with his wife, Phyllis.

Amid a host of family and friends, centenarian Lester C. Reynolds, former Superintendent of Schools in Twin Bridges, MT celebrates the big “100” on June 28th 2003 at the Presbyterian Church, Helena, MT. A magnet on the Reynolds refrigerator displays the slogan, “Old age is not for sissies”. He is living testimony to its’ validity. 

Still active and an avid reader of history, Reynolds longevity is based on his love for his wife of 56 years, Phyllis, his three children, three grandchildren, a family rich in heritage and Christian values, teaching, hunting, fishing and history. Plus a great sense of humor! “Yes sir, I was born in 1903, but I nearly didn’t make it to 100”, says Reynolds. “There was the time in Craig County Virginia, when I was squirrel hunting and tripped over a log and landed flat on my face, then there was the other time when I accidentally shot myself in the leg. The bullet went in one side and out the other. Boy was I embarrassed. 

”Born in Bluefield, West Virginia, June 28, 1903, Lester Charlton Reynolds was the fourth of nine children born to Rev. John Charlton Reynolds and Elizabeth Holland Shawver Reynolds. His brothers and sisters were: Irene Blondine, Ralph Carlyle, Lois Katherine, Ruth Elizabeth, Virginia Mae, Mary Myrtle, Madeline Shawver, and John William Reynolds. He grew up with a strong faith in God and was baptized by his father. He attended school in Sinking Creek, VA. In 1923 he graduated from Maywood High School as Valedictorian of his class. He went on to obtain a BA degree from Milligan College in Milligan, TN. He attended summer school in 1933 in Greeley, CO, where he did graduate study in Botany and went on to do further study in Botany at the University of Montana. In 1960 he received a Master’s degree in Education from Western Montana College of Education, Dillon, MT.  

In 1925 he entered the National Guard and spent the following year as a supply sergeant in Company C, 117th Tennessee Infantry. He served in the Civilian Conservation Corps from 1935 until 1941 in camps from South Port, on the Carolina coast to Mount Mitchell, and on to Cape Hatteras. He was a camp commander in W.W. I veterans in South Carolina when war broke out with Japan. In 1941 he was transferred to the Ordinance Dept. in Nebraska doing inspection work for the U.S. Army. Until 1941 he was assistant chief inspector on all four bomb lines at the plant. From 1943 to 1944 he and his younger brother Ralph worked on the construction of an air base in British Columbia, Canada, for Metcalf Hamilton Kansas City Bridge Co. 

His love of hunting and fishing brought Reynolds to Twin Bridges, MT, in September of 1944 where he met and later married Montana native Phyllis Margaret McCoy, also a lover of the outdoor life, as well as a teacher of English and home economics. Reynolds took a position in Twin Bridges as coach and also taught math and science. He went on to become principal and later superintendent of schools. He was active in Rotarians, the Madison County Fair Board plus numerous civic organizations. Both he and Phyllis were active in the Methodist Church. His hobbies included: hunting, fishing, amateur photography, collecting Indian artifacts and fossils. His garden was his specialty and greatly admired by all. They have three children: Richard Alan Reynolds, D.C. currently of Great Falls, Steven Charlton Reynolds of Butte, and Margaret Jean (Peggy) Tobin of Helena. 

After his retirement as the Superintendent of Schools at Twin Bridges in 1968, Lester and Phyllis moved to Columbia Falls, MT where they lived for another almost 25 years. They were very active in the First Christian Church there, and their two youngest graduated high school there. Lester’s brother, John and his family also lived in the Flathead Valley at the time and they spent many hours hunting and fishing together. After that, Les and Phyllis moved to her old stomping grounds in Hot Springs, MT where they lived near her family for the next 8 years. The Reynolds currently reside in Helena where they enjoy seeing their three grandchildren as often as possible. They are proud of the many accomplishments in sports, music and computers by Jason Charleton Reynolds, age 16, of Butte, Michelle Jennifer Tobin, 22, of Moscow, Idaho, and Meghan Jessica Tobin, 18, of Helena. 

Reading is still very high on Reynolds list of activities. If you stop to visit he will often read to you from his latest selection of Montana history. 

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