He was born Feb. 6, 1934, in Detroit and before Princeton was valedictorian at Birmingham (Mich.) High School. At Princeton he joined Cottage Club, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and graduated magna cum laude in history. He roomed with Ernie Ruehl, Bill Aikens, and Sid Harris. After Princeton he served two years as a naval officer and earned an MBA at Harvard Business School.
In 1970 he joined Xidex Corp. in Sunnyvale, Calif. As CEO of the struggling maker of microfilm, he built it into a Fortune 500 company with more than 7,000 global employees.
After the sale of Xidex, Lester traveled and read extensively and served on a range of corporate and nonprofit boards, including the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and The Alger Funds. In 1992 Lester married Linda Wooldridge and moved to New York. They shared a full life together until Parkinson’s disease took its toll on Linda, and she died five months after his passing.
Lester’s many friends tell of his wit, charm and brilliant mind along with a huge heart and deep loyalty. His is survived by his brother, Nicholas Colbert, of Houston.