In memory: Lester Philip Schoene, Jr.
November 7, 2017
By K.C. Soares, Advisory Board Member
We have lost our friend and colleague, Lester, who firmly left incredible memories with each of us. Lester joined the S-CAR Advisory Board and School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution over twenty years ago and one of my first interactions with him was at a pot luck dinner that the Board and faculty organized to welcome new students. It was held “off campus” at Gunston Hall in Mason Neck, VA – the ancestral home of George Mason. Lester ably helped organize the food contributions – getting volunteers, getting the food from respective cars as they arrived, to placement on the tables, etc. He was everywhere – quietly ensuring that all went well and was one of the first to greet the new George Mason President, Alan Merten and his wife, Sally. This occasion was an introduction to Lester – the person of many talents.
Lester was able to keep us informed, engaged, and motivated – with a warm smile and quick laugh. Most precious memories for me are the years we served together on the S-CAR Advisory Board. Lester had a passion for resolving conflicts in the most peaceful way possible. So his returning to “school” after a successful career at IBM seemed like a natural move for him. After graduating with a master’s degree from S-CAR he was an active alum including serving as the president of the Mason Alumni Association. We all enjoyed his participation, his humor, and his ability to get things done. He brought to our Board great insight and knowledge “tempered by” his experience with other organizations and in life.
We also served together on the Nominations Committee and held monthly meetings at John W. and Christel McDonald’s home (making it easier for John to participate). Lester was the “holder” of knowledge about all things related to governance, including the By-Laws – one of the few on the Board with this expertise! His institutional memory was legendary and he would gently remind us of aspects, instances, policies we may have forgotten. His sharp mind kept us “on-track” – he also did this during Board meetings and always included a quick laugh or chuckle.
"He was like a mentor and definitely advisor for me when I was on a track to apply to be a rotary peace fellow. If it wasn't for him I wouldn't have reached as far I did in getting to Japan."
Sana Saeed, MS '08
There are many things we can admire about Lester – one of them being his ability, with kindness, to dedicate himself to his several interests and among them being the Rotary and the Burgundy Farm Country Day School, and his work in ADR with FEMA. With his diversity of interest areas, he was able to meaningfully engage with all of these, with purpose.
Lester was also able to create valuable linkages with others and those linked were in better places for this relationship. Being a dedicated Rotarian, he recognized the areas of mutual interest (ex. Rotary Peace Centers and their work with peace building) and invited Edwin Futa, former general secretary of Rotary International to be a member of the Board and he accepted. Mr. Futa participated in Board meetings via Skype and visited Point of View on several occasions.
It has been an honor to share a little piece of Lester’s life and he will be affectionately remembered by us.