Lester Stanley Pitchford, 95, of Richview, died Tuesday, September 8, 2015 at Good Samaritan Hospital in Mt. Vernon.
He was born on November 12, 1919 in Washington County at the home of his parents Raymond A. and Margaret M., (Zapp) Pitchford.
After graduating grade school from Whittenburg School, he took over responsibility of the family farm in rural Richview. He expanded the farm to include livestock and grain as well as maintaining orchards and marketing the fruit and strawberries to the local area. At one point in the 1960’s he had over 100 acres in strawberries as well as 100 acres of orchards. Annually, he would also purchase and transport pecans from the south to be sold at his market. As the farm operations expanded throughout the years he saw the need of grain storage and crop inputs be made available to the small farmers and began Pitchford Elevator in 1965.
Mr. Pitchford was involved in many business endeavors throughout the years but was especially interested in the banking industry as his grandfather, Alfred Pitchford was one of the founding directors of the Richview State Bank. Upon his grandfather’s death he was appointed to the board of directors and served in this capacity well over 60 years. In this role, he oversaw the bank grow from one location as Richview State Bank to three locations now known as Community Trust Bank with expansion into the Centralia and Nashville market. He placed great importance on the value of an independent family owned business as an integral part of a small community and was proud that six generations have been involved in the bank as well as the farm and elevator for which he ensured would continue well into the future. It was important to him to invest and reinvest in his surrounding community providing employment and economic development for the area he loved.
Lester married M. Lorraine Russell on December 28, 1940 in Robinson, Illinois and she survives. Also surviving are two daughters, Nancy Roethemeyer and husband Don of Richview and Sharon Creed and husband Gary of Waterloo. Six grandchildren, Brian Grathwohl and wife Michele of Richview; Sheila Burcham and husband Matt of Nashville; Amy Stevens and husband Josh of Nashville; Angela Creed and husband Ed Hengel of Columbia, Scott Creed of Waterloo; and Nicole Creed and husband Jeff Fleece of Prospect, Ky.. Thirteen great grandchildren, Stephanie Grathwohl, Curtis Grathwohl, Justin Grathwohl, Emma Grathwohl, Brittany Burcham, Danielle Stambaugh and husband Jonathon, Brooke Burcham, Lucas Knepp, Abby Knepp, August Hengel, Macie Hengel, Nicholas and John Fleece. One great great grandson, Leland Stambaugh. Surviving siblings include Marie Finke of Missouri and Marjorie Murphy of Ohio.
Preceding him in death are his parents, a brother Wesley Pitchford, sister Viola Reed, and son-in-law Curtis Grathwohl.
Funeral Services were held Saturday, September 12, 2015 at the Sutherland-Garnier Funeral Home in Centralia with Pastor Steve Upchurch officiating. Memorial Donations may be made to the Smile Train or to the Richview Cemetery Fund and will be accepted at the Sutherland-Garnier Funeral Home in Centralia which is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be made to the family by visiting www.sutherlandfuneralhome.com