Lester C. Haworth

Lester was born on March 12, 1888 to Harper E. and Margaret (Greene) Haworth in Danville, Indiana. His father was a devote Quaker, active in the abolitionist and prohibition movements. His mother was the descendant of Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene. They relocated to Indiana from North Carolina at the end of the Civil War. There Lester was born. Lester attended Danville High School and Earlham College. He gained a reputation for being a superb salesman and public speaker. When he graduated in 1910, Earlham hired him to help on fundraising drives for the College. The YMCA of Buffalo, New York hired him as Assistant General Secretary the next year. In 1913 he married Ruby Evelyn Peyotn, also from Danville, Indiana. They had two daughters, Dorothy and Margaret. The Youngstown YMCA hired him in 1914 as General Secretary. He quickly gained a reputation for being “a strong and effective force for the education and moral and religious uplift of the large and heterogeneous population of Youngstown.” Word traveled quickly of his success. In 1916 he was granted a leave of absence to travel to India and establish YMCAs throughout the country and help care for injured British Troops. H.W. Reed was Assistant General Secretary and managed the Y in Lester's absence. He returned to his role in Youngstown in 1917. In 1918 he helped raise $2,000,000 to help fund the Y's War Work in Europe. By 1919 he was on the road again. This time he was on the front lines in Europe helping to address the well being of soldiers there. His Quaker faith probably kept him from an active military role. After a few months, he returned to Youngstown. He resumed his role as General Secretary and stayed active in civic life. He was a member of the Youngstown Club and the Chamber of Commerce.[1]

After Youngstown

Lester resigned in 1923 to take the job of General Secretary of the St. Louis YMCA. Education Secretary Leonard T. Skeggs Sr. succeeded him as General Secretary. Lester spent ten years there before becoming the General Secretary of the Philadelphia YMCA. He would go on to become an executive for the YMCA at the national and international level and Vice-President of Haverford College. He died of a heart attack in Eastham, MA on August 15, 1954[2]


1. a Butler, Joseph G., 1921. History of Youngstown and Mahoning County, Ohio; Volume 2. Chicago and New York, American Historical Society, pp.367.
2. a Youngstown Vindicator, August 17, 1954. Former Y Secretary Here Dies. Vindicator Printing Company, pp.1.