Rosell Lester Leister, of the Lutheran Community at Telford, formerly a long-time resident of Sellersville and Perkasie, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Thursday, February 6, 2020. He was 94.
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He was the beloved husband of Arlene M. (Seachrist) Leister for 72 years.
Born in Almont, West Rockhill Township, Rosell was a son of the late Raymond L. and Annie W. (Schoch) Leister. He was raised in West Rockhill Township, where generations of the Leister family had continually resided since the 1750’s.
One of seven children growing up during the Great Depression, he was the only person in his family to be graduated from high school (Sell-Perk High School, Class of 1943).
Mr. Leister served his country during World War II in the 257th Field Artillery Battalion, as part of General Patton’s Third Army. He participated in the Battle of the Bulge, having landed in France on Christmas Day, 1944. After returning home from active duty, he stayed in contact with several of his fellow servicemen and commanding officers, becoming one of the battalion’s unofficial historians — contributing and preserving detailed information about the battalion’s service record in Europe.
A proud, but quiet, veteran, he became a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (V.F.W.), Forrest Lodge Post 245, West Rockhill Township. He also was an active member of the American Legion, Nase-Kraft Post 255, Sellersville, where he served in the Honor Guard.
In 1999 and 2000, Mr. Leister served on the Sellersville Lake Lenape Park War Monument Committee. With his encyclopedic knowledge of the region, he assisted in compiling many names of veterans and helped determine their residency during enlistment in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm. The Committee was then able to update the park’s existing monument by creating and erecting two additional plaques honoring all of the Borough’s men and women who had served our country in active wartime duty.
Upon returning home from war, Leister worked at the Penn Pants and U. S. Gauge factories, both of Sellersville, and also worked as a carpenter for John Shive, building houses in Silverdale.
Known to many as “Lester,” “Rosell,” and/or “Ross,” he was later employed at the Sellersville Post Office for over 32 years, working as a carrier, clerk, assistant to the postmaster, supervisor, and superintendent. Following his retirement from the Postal Service, he worked as a painter for the local firm of Harold E. “Huss” Weidemoyer Home Improvements, and also as an enumerator for the 1990 U.S. Decennial Census.
A devout and humble Christian, Rosell was first a member of Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church, Almont. In 1947, he transferred his membership to St. Michael’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Sellersville, where he had served on Church Council, the Property Committee, and was an usher and offering counter. He also served on the Sellersville Church and Cemetery Corporation.
In July 1956, Lester became a member of the Sellersville Volunteer Fire Department. He was active for over 25 years, served as financial secretary, and was a frequent volunteer at carnivals and other fundraising events.
Early in his adulthood, he was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.), Sellersville Lodge, No. 658, and the Perkasie Fraternal Order of the Owls, Nest 1224.
In the 2000’s, Rosell was a volunteer for the Sellersville Museum, distributing exhibit fliers throughout the community and helping to identify artifacts and photos.
As a leader, Mr. Leister was never one to be in the spotlight, opting instead to be “behind the scenes” in most activities. He demonstrated his strong convictions and faith in God by serving his church, family, community, and country with a quiet, gentle, and humble approach. His faith in God and his love and devotion to family were always the most important priorities in his life—made evident by the amount of time he spent at family reunions and gatherings, especially going to local restaurants with relatives and friends.
During his long, blessed life, he enjoyed numerous hobbies, including traveling with his wife across the United States, Canada, and Europe; collecting stamps, baseball cards, and Norman Rockwell prints; watching Philadelphia Phillies baseball and following the career of Mike Schmidt; deer hunting (as a member of the Almont Hunting Club); playing card games; bowling (as part of the P. K. Moyer and Son Bowling League); square dancing (as a member of the Melody Eight Square Dancing club of Melody Lakes, Quakertown); and doing a lot of handyman work for family and friends.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his three children: Terry S. Leister, Sr., and his wife, Bertha, of East Greenville, Barbara A. Hufnagle and her husband, David, of Sellersville, and Cindy L. Fosbenner and her husband, J. Christopher, of Quakertown; seven grandchildren: Terry S. “T. J.” Leister, Jr., and his wife, Melanie, of Perkasie, Timothy D. Hufnagle, of Sellersville, Shawn Rosell Leister, of East Greenville, Jeffrey B. Hufnagle, and his wife, Cheryl, of Levittown, PA, Rebecca A. Calarco, and her husband, Ronald, of Towamencin Township, Joshua C. Fosbenner, of Philadelphia, and Adam J. Fosbenner, of Kutztown; eight great-grandchildren: Jordan, Justin, Jacob, Erin, Rosella, Eleanor, Bianca, and Katharine; a younger sister, Mazie R. Seachrist, of Telford, and her companion, Walton Kolb, of West Rockhill Township; a brother-in-law, Clarence Hibbs, of Telford; a sister-in-law, Alice (Fell) Leister, of Telford; and many beloved nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by two older sisters and their husbands: Myrtle M. Oberton and her husband, John, and Geraldine F. Klinger and her husband, Albert; an older brother and his wife, Paul R. Leister and his wife, Elsie (Richter) Leister; a younger sister, Perma L. Hibbs; a younger brother, J. Clair Leister; a brother-in-law, Harold E. Seachrist; and a stepmother, Rose C. (McElroy) Miller-Leister.
His funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, February 15, in St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, 25 East Church Street, Sellersville, PA 18960, where a visitation will be held from 10 a.m. until time of service. Interment with full military honors will follow in Sellersville Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Mr. Leister’s name may be made to St. Michael’s Lutheran Church at the address above or to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Philadelphia, Attn: Development Office, 3551 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19140.