The founder of popular retail chain Lester’s, Lester Kronfeld, died on Saturday, August 18 at the age of 87.
Born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on May 7, 1925 to proud Jewish parents Esther and Leo Kronfeld, Lester went on to serve his country in WWII. He joined the United States Navy and served on the SS Quincy from 1943 to 1946, fighting for freedom his country on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, and later transporting President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to the Yalta Conference in 1945.
Lester was most known for founding the family-owned chain Lester’s with his wife Lillian in 1948. Founded in Brooklyn and a New York landmark, the chain eventually grew to six stores, including two on Long Island in Greenvale and Huntington Station. Lester’s pure love for the business and his customers filled his stores with warmth and enjoyment for four generations.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Lillian; his loving children, Stanley, Gary, Sheri and son-in-law Perry, and Gary’s fiancé Susan; his five adoring grandchildren, Lauren, Jaclyn, Alexander, Harrison and Julie; and his brother, Donald.
“He was the patriarch of our extended family, loved and respected by all who knew him.” Barry and Robin Cohen, Lester’s niece and nephew, said. “Personally, Lester was the most sincere, kind, thoughtful and intelligent human being with a heart of gold. He always led by example and taught our family lessons in loyalty, friendship, compassion and humor. His legacy will live on through his devoted family, friends, and the dedicated people who helped build his legendary business.”
Services were held on August 20th in Woodbury, LI. Over 1,000 people attended including around 200 Lester employees. All Lester’s locations were closed Monday in honor of Kronfeld’s passing.