Former Wayland first lady to speak for McCoy Missions Lectures

March 29, 2011

PLAINVIEW – Marie Jester, former first lady of Wayland Baptist University, will be the featured speaker for the Eighth Annual McCoy Lectures series at Wayland, slated for Wednesday, April 6.

Featuring a missions theme annually, the lecture series kicks off with the Wednesday chapel service at 11 a.m. in Harral Auditorium. Mrs. Jester will also speak to the Ministerial Fellowship group and to several missions classes, and then at 6 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Plainview, 205 West 8th Street, the co-sponsor of the lecture series. All events are free and open to the public.

Jester is the wife of Dr. David Jester, who served as president of Wayland from 1981-87. The couple will be honored with an afternoon tea slated for 3:15 -4 p.m. on the campus.

A native of Shelbyville, Ind., Marie Hans Jester earned her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown College in Kentucky in 1951 and, a week later, married David Jester. In the summers during college, she worked in missions endeavors in Kentucky and California. She earned a Master of Religious Education degree from Carver School of Missions and Social Work at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. She worked in the library at Brooklyn College in New York while her husband was pursuing his doctoral degree,

Marie served in ministry alongside her husband for many years as pastor’s wife and first lady, both overseas and in the U.S., and at several institutions of higher education as Dr. Jester served in administrative roles.

The Jesters were appointed by the Foreign Mission Board in 1957 to the Baptist College in Iwo, Nigeria. During their time of service there, Marie was a teacher and counselor at Iwo and the Niger Baptist College in Minna, Nigeria. She also taught her own children, helped in churches and directed the Woman’s Missionary Union work in the area.

After returning to the U.S., Mrs. Jester was dean of women at both Campbellsville University and Georgetown College in Kentucky before becoming first lady at Wayland, where she hosted events both on campus and in the couple’s home. She also helped lead a summer course overseas, spoke on missions and led prayer retreats. Later, she served as Supervisor of Adult Education for the Killeen (Texas) school district and coordinated a workplace literacy project in San Antonio. She also taught English and reading skills at South Texas College in McAllen.

She concluded her career as first lady at Mid-Continent University and taught, counseled, spoke and worked with youth and women in WMU in Western Kentucky. After retiring, the Jesters moved to Louisville, Ky., where Marie is active in her church, WMU and PEO. They have three daughters – Lisa, Daneta and Karina – and three grandchildren.

The McCoy Lecture Series was developed by First Baptist Church with an estate gift from the late Dr. Dorothy McCoy, distinguished professor emeritus in mathematics at Wayland and a longtime member of FBC Plainview. McCoy had a passion for missions, and she served six months in Malawi, Africa, after her retirement from Wayland, later traveling to Indonesia for short-term mission work. She also hosted a missions emphasis gathering for Wayland students and others through the church for many years.

McCoy died in November 2001. The lecture series seeks to honor McCoy’s passion for missions and sharing the Gospel. An award honoring the student missionary of the year (male and female) will be presented as well during the chapel.

In conjunction with the Jesters’ visit to campus, a new endowed scholarship honoring them and benefiting a student in the social work area will be dedicated at the beginning of the chapel service. The scholarship was established by Dr. Michael Davis, a 1987 Wayland graduate, who also spearheaded the effort to raise funds for the scholarship in less than a year.