Lester Cobb, Jr.

Lester Cobb, Jr. 68,husband of Constance (Carlson) Cobb of Oakland and father of Lestina Trainor of Redding died on Sunday, September 20 2009 at the home of his daughter in Redding. Mr. Cobb was born in Birmingham, Alabama, the first child of Pearlie and Lester Cobb, Sr. From early childhood, Lester loved music and art. In his teens, he won prizes for his paintings and drawings and began playing drums professionally. During the Civil Rights Movement, Lester served as a student leader in Birmingham. He was arrested and jailed numerous times while participating in civil rights demonstrations. He attended Miles College in Birmingham and in 1967 moved to New York City, where he married Constance J. Carlson. In New York, he became an art director and producer at the William Esty Advertising Agency and later was employed as a social worker at Graham Home for Children.

Lester moved to Westchester County, NY, in 1970 where he was active in the Liberal Party and the Ethical Humanist Society. His band, Lester Cobb Associates, performed frequently at New York clubs, art galleries, and private parties.

In 1992, Lester relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area where he performed in various venues, including Yoshi’s Jazz Club and Japanese Restaurant in Oakland, California. He taught percussion in public schools as an artist-in-residence. He especially loved working with children, which led to employment as a soccer and T-ball coach in the Oakland Parks and Recreation Department.

Lester Cobb will be remembered as a “people person.” He loved to talk as did his uncle, Ned Cobb, who is the subject of the oral history, All God’s Dangers, published by Alfred Knopf in 1974. (All God’s Dangers, the 1991 off-Broadway play, starred the late Cleavon Little.) The greatest pleasures in Lester’s life were socializing with family and friends, playing and listening to music, and in recent years, being a grandfather.

Lester is survived by his wife of forty-one years, their daughter and son-in-law, Lestina and JT Trainor and grandchildren, Marlo, Miles, and Deegan of Redding, CT, and by son and daughter-in-law, Robert and Kim Cobb and grandchildren Denesha, Kiana, and Ned of Highpoint, NC. He is also survived by a sister and brother-in-law, Bobbie Jean and Houston Pearson of Birmingham and by nephews Houston Pearson, Jr., and Darius and Christopher Hill and a niece, Bridgett Hill. Lester was preceded in death by his parents and youngest sister, Carol Ann Hill.

Funeral services will be held in the Kane Funeral Home, 25 Catoonah St., Ridgefield, CT, on Saturday, September 26, 2009 at 1:30PM.

Rather than flowers, the family asks that you consider making a donation in memory of Lester Cobb, Jr. to a cancer research or homeless organization of your choice or one of the following:

Entertainment Industry Foundation (eifoundation.com, select Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance)

National Coalition for the Homeless (nationalhomeless.com)

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Jowdy Kane and Kane Funeral Homes