Madge T. Lester of Sandra Drive in Springs, who was her husband’s fishing partner and a cook who lent her skills to local restaurants, died at Southampton Hospital on April 17. She was 74 and had been ill for a long time.
She was born on March 20, 1939, in Southport, N.Y., and was adopted by Homer Thayer Heaton and Gay Bernard Heaton. The couple owned Fireplace Lodge, a summer camp at the end of Springs Fireplace Road. Madge Heaton grew up in Springs where she met Stewart Lester, a bayman who also was an offshore lobster fisherman.
When the couple married on Aug. 25, 1955, she was 16; he was 18. Captain Lester died while fishing in Gardiner’s Bay on the Fourth of July in 2005, a month before the couple’s 50th wedding anniversary. Their children, Theodore (Teddy) Lester of Springs and Angel Duryea of Laurel, Del., survive. She also leaves Helene Schall, who cared for her for seven years. Ms. Lester’s sister, Leslie Miller, died before her.
O’Malley’s and the Laundry restaurants in East Hampton were among a number of kitchens where she did prep work, managed the flow, and dealt with purveyors. It was while working in a restaurant in Hampton Bays that Ms. Lester fell and suffered a debilitating injury to her leg that forced her retirement.
She was an animal lover and particularly enjoyed cats. Clarabelle, her pet duck, which had free range of a backyard filled with fishing gear, was often the beneficiary of restaurant scraps with a preference for French fries.
She and her husband were true partners. She helped with net and trap building and other phases of her husband’s work, and turned the catch into delicious dinners, her son said yesterday. “She went trap fishing, scalloping. She was everything with dad.”
Funeral arrangements were private.