Lesta Chere Livingston McNair, 88, a member of the Greatest Generation, died peacefully on Thursday, August 30, 2018.
Chere was born on July 9, 1930, in Marfa, Texas, to James Shannon and Lesta Dulaney Livingston. She attended Marfa public schools, graduating as valedictorian in 1947. Chere attended Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene where she was a member of Cowgirls and the Cowgirl Band, editor of The Brand, a member of the Six White Horses, and University Princess. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and English summa cum laude in 1951. While working in public relations for HSU, Chere met Sherwyn McNair. They married at her family home in Marfa on June 15, 1952, and made their home in Abilene for 64 years, until Sherwyn’s death in 2016.
Although baptized into the Presbyterian church, Chere faithfully attended First Baptist Church of Abilene for over 65 years, where she was a faithful member of the Priscilla Class. She spent more than twenty years teaching in the 4-year-old Sunday School class, and she provided many casseroles for the Bereavement ministry.
Chere was the consummate homemaker as she sewed, baked and maintained the perfect household. She also enjoyed volunteering at Hendrick Medical Center for 35 years, and she was active at Hardin-Simmons as a member of HSU Round Table and Ex-Cowgirls. She and Sherwyn enjoyed road trips in the United States, and especially loved treating each grandchild to a 5-year-old trip.
In addition to Sherwyn, her husband of 64 years, Chere was preceded in death by her parents. She leaves behind two daughters and sons-in-law, Nancy and Jim Jones and Melinda and Frank Rausch, all of Abilene; her sister Sally Devenport of Wimberley; brothers Ike Livingston and wife Valda, and Mike Livingston and wife Gina, all of Marfa; grandchildren Sarah Jones Thornton and Brad Jones and wife Kendall, all of Burleson; K. C. Peebles, Anne Peebles, Thomas Peebles, Kelley Peebles Harroff and husband Brad, all of Abilene; and Holly Graves, of Denton; eight great-grandchildren; brother-in-law Ronald McNair and wife Sandra of Gilmer; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
A memorial service will be held in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church of Abilene on Thursday, September 6, at 2:00 with Dr. Phil Christopher and Dr. Cliff Stewart officiating. A private family inurnment service will be that morning at Texas State Veterans Cemetery. Services are under the direction of The Hamil Family Funeral Home, 6449 Buffalo Gap Road.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts to the Sherwyn and Chere McNair Endowed Scholarship at Hardin Simmons University would be gratefully received.
The family first began in the funeral business in 1933. The Hamil's legacy, beginning with the Elliott's to John and Jo Ann Hamil and now continuing with Robert and Karla Hamil, is to serve families in their time of need.