January 10, 2022

Lester Eugene Prince, 87, Wise, passed away on Saturday, January 8, 2022.
He was born in Abingdon, Va., the son of the late John Martin and Georgia Collier Prince. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother John and sister-in-law Phyllis Prince, and sister Ruth and brother-in-law James Cowan.
He is survived by his devoted and loving wife of 58 years, Mary Jo Prince; beloved daughter Jill Prince of Bristol, Tenn.; brother Howard and sister-in-law Alice Prince of Spartanburg, SC; and an abundance of cherished nieces and nephews.

Lester spent most of his young life in Stonega, Virginia and was a proud graduate of Appalachia High School where he answered to the nickname of “Gooch”. He often enjoyed sharing stories of his days playing for the Bulldogs as an offensive tackle for the football team and as the catcher on the baseball team. After high school, Lester headed to Richmond where he graduated from the School of Pharmacy at the Medical College of Virginia.

After his graduation from pharmacy school, Lester proudly and honorably served his country for two years in the U.S. Army, before heading back to his Wise County, Virginia home and serving his community as a dedicated and trusted pharmacist for the remainder of his working years.
He met the love of his life, Mary Jo, when she came to Wise in the summer of '62 to visit her sister Dot. When the sisters sat down to eat at the lunch counter at the old City Drugstore in Norton where Lester was the pharmacist, the dark-haired beauty from Pennsylvania caught his eye, and the rest was history. They were married the following summer and welcomed daughter Jill three years later.
Lester’s Christian faith was an essential part of his life. He was a longtime member of the Wise Baptist Church and, in his later years, worshiped at East Park Avenue Baptist Church in Norton. He loved spending time with his church families, and dedicated much of his life to being a faithful servant leader in his church community.

Lester was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed hunting (often with his Brittany Spaniels and other bird dogs), fishing, skeet shooting, and biking. He was a sports enthusiast, whether cheering on daughter Jill’s high school girls’ basketball games or traveling with her on numerous trips to watch the Cincinnati Reds and Virginia Tech Hokies, and he celebrated his 80th birthday with a trip to see the Atlanta Braves.

Another vital part of Lester’s life was his commitment to the Masonic Lodge. He became a member of Suthers Lodge #259 in Norton, VA in 1964, earning his 50-year pin in 2014. Over his decades of Masonic service, Lester held many different roles, including many years as the Secretary of Suthers Lodge; as Master of the Lodge in 1982; as District Deputy Grand Master for the 48th District in 2005; and as a Board Member in the Norton Masonic Corporation.
The family will receive friends on Friday, January 14 from 5-7 p.m. followed by a 7 p.m. memorial service at the East Park Avenue Baptist Church, 728 Park Ave NE in Norton, VA.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to Project ALS (in tribute to Lester’s nephew Phillip Timp who lost his life to this horrible disease) or to the Masonic Home of Virginia.

Please visit to leave online condolences for the family.

Sturgill Funeral Home, 1621 Norton Road SW, Wise is in charge of arrangements.