Home Obituaries OBITUARY: James Robert McLester

OBITUARY: James Robert McLester

LAURINBURG — James Robert (Bob) McLester, 84, passed away on Sept. 10, 2022, after several months of declining health.

Born in Lumberton in 1937, he was the son of the late James Dumas McLester and Patty Price McLester and the second of four siblings.

Shortly after graduating from N.C. State in 1959 as a mechanical engineer, Bob married his lifelong sweetheart Linda Bayne Inman, and they moved to Buffalo, New York. Never a fan of the cold, however, Bob and Linda were soon back to stay in the warmth of North Carolina.

Upon returning to N.C., Bob joined his father’s company, Sheet Metal Works. In time, he and his partners Gary Fisher and Keith McLester grew what became Industrial Sheet Metal and Mechanical Corporation into a leading international manufacturing facility and one of the largest employers in Richmond County.

As well as being an N.C. State alum, Bob was one of the Wolfpack’s most devoted fans and spent many a fall Saturday tailgating at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh and cheering his team to victory. Longtime member of First Presbyterian Church in Rockingham, Bob served in multiple leadership positions. A well-respected leader in the business community and a mentor to many, Bob served on several boards throughout his life, was a Freemason, and a member of the Rockingham Rotary Club.

After retirement, Bob enjoyed playing golf with his grandson Andrew, as well as deep sea fishing with his sons Malcolm and Ralph. But his favorite pastime, by far, was spending time with his entire family. Every other year, he loved to gather his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren someplace sunny and tropical to laugh, sail, swim, eat, and make wonderful lasting memories.


In 2018, Bob and Linda moved from their longtime home in Rockingham to Scotia Village Retirement Community in Laurinburg, where they have enjoyed making new friends and playing putt-putt. (Bob won his last round of putt-putt just last week with a hole in one!)

Bob is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Linda Inman McLester; son Malcolm and wife Laura of Whispering Pines; son Ralph and wife Caroline of Siler City; grandson Andrew and wife Kacey, along with great-grandchildren Marley and Maddie, of Whispering Pines; granddaughter Amanda of Flat Rock; grandson Grayson of Siler City; and grandson Kel of Brevard. He is also survived by sister Sandra Bryan and husband Floyd of Melbourne Florida; brother Keith and wife Leone of Rockingham; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his beloved daughter Bayne and his older brother Billy, as well as both his parents.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, Sept. 16, at 1:30 at First Presbyterian Church in Rockingham, followed by a reception for family and friends at Richmond Community College’s Cole Auditorium in Hamlet. Anyone able to attend is encouraged to wear red and white in honor of Bob’s favorite team (yes, even you Tarheel fans!).

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Richmond County Hospice, 1119 U.S. Hwy 1 N, Rockingham, NC 28379; or to First Presbyterian Church, 904 Fayetteville Road, Rockingham NC 28379 for the New Shoes for Christmas fund.

The family is being assisted by Carter Funeral Home. Online condolences may be made at carterfuneral.net.

Previous articleCatherine Dennis: The Official Richmond County Female Athlete of the Week
Next articleRCSO: Fentanyl found following car-turned-foot chase in Rockingham