Walter Cottle Lester

July 7, 1925January 31, 2014
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Mr. Walter Cottle Lester passed away on January 31, 2014 in San Jose, California. Arrangements under the direction of Oak Hill Funeral Home & Memorial Park, San Jose, California.


  • Visitation Sunday, February 9, 2014
  • Funeral Service Sunday, February 9, 2014

Walter Cottle Lester

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Carol Withers

June 18, 2014

Dear Mr. Lester,
Bless you for choosing to have your family's ranch preserved for future generations living in this Valley, so they can visit and get a glimpse of how our entire valley once looked. It was truly a thing of beauty, especially in the spring when all the fruit trees were in bloom and the ground beneath them was carpeted in yellow wild mustard blooms. I grew up on my grandparent's orchard ranch just around the corner from yours on what was then two-lane Almaden Road, now an expressway. My family was forced to sell our orchard to make way for San Jose "upgrades" in the forms of a freeway interchange, holding pond and apartments. When you were a young man you would have known my Grandparents, John Walter Withers, blacksmith and orchardist, his wife Hazel, and possibly my parents, Vernon and Edythe. Were they still here they would all join me in saying thank you for your integrity and stubbornness in refusing to allow all of our former agricultural paradise, with some of the most fertile soil in the world, to be paved over and built upon. Rest peacefully dear man. Your gift will be cherished.

W Free

April 15, 2014

Walter go home in Pease. A true American, and a man of integrity.
Your Cousin

February 10, 2014

Mr. Lester, I never sent you a letter as a child to let you know how much I loved your farmland. I never had a chance to tell you how much it meant to me to pass by your home and see the tall grass and beautiful oak tree. I wish I did. I'm so grateful that I can still share the beauty of your land with my daughter. I hope you knew that there were many of us who supported your efforts to keep the land and loved knowing that you dedicated your heart and soul into the farm. I hope that you'll be able to look down and see how much happiness your land will provide to my daughters generation and future generations.

Debbie Archer

February 10, 2014

I enjoyed working with you Mr Lester you were a fine man with great values. Thank you for sharing your legacy for our future generations to enjoy. You will be missed.

Bob & Joyce Chesnos

February 9, 2014

Our eternal thanks to Walter Lester for choosing to preserve his family ranch. Just to experience a piece of our valley's proud agricultural history enriches us all. How can we ever repay you, Walter?

David & Aiko Fadness

February 9, 2014

Thanks to the selfless generosity of Walter Cottle Lester, ours and future generations will be able to enjoy at Martial Cottle Park a taste of what life once was in this Valley of the Heart's Delight.

Santa Clara County has lost a very good man.

jennifer hitchcock

February 9, 2014

A most rare and impressive true local hero worthy of our collective respect and love. Step aside, the usual celebrities, heeeere's Walter Cottle Lester. A very big thank you for holding fast Lester!

Sharon Johnston

February 9, 2014

Thank you, Mr. Lester, for your generous gift. Like many in the neighborhood, I drive past your land daily. For the 20 years that I've lived near you, I've sent up many grateful prayers. To be able to see the rain drifting over the mountains, and see such a large expanse of sky, and to smell the earth, and see the've been a blessing every day. Your family must be so proud of you as they welcome you home. Bless your heart. xo

February 9, 2014

Thank you for donating your ranch. I have enjoyed walking the trail every day since it opened. Would of loved to of seen you at the grand opening.

David Jessel

February 7, 2014

My good friend Rick Welde” a master carpenter and I , worked for Walter . Me for about Three years and Rick for about Seven . Rick and some of his other master carpenter buddies , and I do mean master carpenters . These guys were unbelievable at what they could do with a hammer and nail. Me I was the laborer on the job . Working on the ranch in the morning and IBM swing shift in the afternoon. I loved working at the ranch because it was definitely stepping back in to time every day. Seeing ‘ the real grass roots' of the beautiful valley that it once was ‘and still is. I feel very lucky to be part of history and the legacy of the Cottle family. Rick' his crew and I put a new foundation under the farm house. Up-grading foundation this was no easy task. Seventy yards on concrete went under that house that is now the new foundation. I feel very lucky to be part of history and the legacy of the “ Cottle” family . Walter was there every day giving his input. Although Walter was a rancher and a farmer by trade this man's input to the job at hand. Was just simply an amazing man, a man of integrity and intelligence second to none? Walter was the salt of the valley “ and I am a better man because of the opportunity I had to walk in his shadow. God Bless and the Blossom Valley will never see another man like Walter .