Lt. Col. Lester M. Dyke II passed away peacefully yesterday at the age of 83. He was a most beloved husband and father, a man who always made his family the priority of his life. Lester was born in the days of the Great Depression and was the first born son of Dr. Lester M. Dyke and his wife Marguerite Flickinger Dyke. He traveled extensively with his parents and his twin brothers, Jan and Peter, during World War II, embarking on what he later called "The Dyke Family European Odyssey" aboard the S.S. Manhattan. His father was the commanding officer of the largest U.S. hospital with all the specialties overseas, the 91st General at Oxford England. Lester enjoyed regaling his grandchildren with stories of how his dad danced with the Queen of England and how he himself witnessed the coronation of King George VI as a little boy recuperating from appendicitis in Westminster Hospital.
In the spring of 1948, Lester graduated from Shattuck Military Academy in Fairbault, Minnesota and attended the State University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, in the fall of the same year, completing his basic military training at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin in 1951. In 1952, Lester received a Bachelors of Art degree in General Science and a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry. Due to his academic background and experience in research, he was transferred from the Infantry to the Medical Service Corps. Upon graduation from the Medical Field Service School, Fort Sam Houston, in 1952, he was assigned to the Medical Replacement Training Center, Camp Pickett, Virginia. At this time, he acted in the dual capacity of company executive officer and instructor of basic infantry tactics.
It was also at this time that he met the love of his life, his beloved wife Mary Esther Zamudio, the woman he would hold in his heart until the day he died. Never a day went by when he did not mention how she was the reason his life was good and how blessed he was to have someone who stood by him through thick and thin. Lester and Mary Esther met in San Antonio, Texas on October 23rd, 1952 and though their first encounter was brief, Lester ensured that they would meet again when he had her write her phone number on a little origami frog that she had made for him while they chatted, a little frog that still resides in the place of honor in the family photo album. Lester had to win the approval of his future father in law, Mr. Florencio Zamudio, and always being a man who knew what he wanted, he eventually won over the entire family, marrying his beautiful wife while on a thirty day furlough on December 13th, 1953. This fortuitous union produced four children and thirteen grandchildren, whom Lester called his immortality and the proof that he had lived a successful life. Education was always of paramount importance to him and all of his children and grandchildren are either college graduates and beyond or currently attending college.
In 1953, Lester was reassigned to Kumwha, North Korea. During this period, he acted in the capacity of Assistant Battalion Surgeon and was in charge of triaging and evacuating casualties from such historic terrain features as "Jackson Heights" and "Old Baldy." Shortly before his inter-theatre transfer to Japan, Lester was awarded the Combat Medical Badge, the Bronze Star Medal, and the Presidential Unit Citation for outstanding service support in Korea during "ground combat operations against the enemy." Upon his arrival in Japan, he was assigned an "Aide de Camp" to the Chief Surgeon of The Armed Forces of The Far East. Prior to his departure in 1954, he was awarded the Commendation Medal for rendering "outstanding administrative support" to the Chief Surgeon .In February of 1959, Lester was assigned to Brooke General Hospital, Fort Sam Houston, Texas as Assistant Adjutant. Approximately seven months thereafter, he was enrolled as a student in the Hospital Administrative Course and served his administrative residency at William Beaumont Hospital, El Paso, Texas. Upon completion of the latter, Lester received his graduate school degree from Baylor University in 1961 and was later assigned to the Office of The Army Surgeon General, Washington, D.C. As a result of his outstanding work, he was awarded the Commendation Medal. In 1969, Lester was assigned to Vietnam and was subsequently awarded the Bronze Medal, First Oak Leaf Cluster, as a result of ground operations against hostile forces of the United States. After completing further military duties, he retired in 1973, at which time he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. Lester was a brave and honorable man who served his country with dignity and a fierce sense of dedication.
The measure of a man is not in how he died but in how he lived, not in what he himself gained, but in what he gave to others. This truly exemplifies the life of Lester Dyke, a man who gave of himself always to the people he loved so dearly. Lester was preceded in death by his father and mother and leaves behind his beloved wife Mary Esther, his four children Lester (Marie), Sarah (Guy), Charles (Jennifer), and Florence (Cesar), as well as the thirteen grandchildren who were his pride and joy: William and Kimberly, Karen, Andrew, and Eric, Katy, Jeffrey, Leslie, David, and Betsy, and Karl, Bobby, and Alex.
Goodbyes are not forever, goodbyes are not the end, they simply mean we will miss you so much until we meet again. The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. Au revoir, Pop.
Visitation will be held today, Wednesday, September 11, 2013, from 4pm – 10pm, with a rosary at 7pm, at Funeraria Del Angel Buena Vista.
A Funeral Mass will be held on, Thursday, September 12, 2013, at 1pm at St. Mary Mother of the Church 1914 Barnard Road, Brownsville, Texas 78621 with a committal Service to follow at Buena Vista Burial Park.