Raymond Lester (Les) Lucas of Palma Sola passed away on February 23, 2021 at the age of 95. He was born on 9/24/25 in Bloomington, Ind and was the youngest of 4 children, having a sister and 2 brothers. In November of 1943 while a senior in high school, he received his draft notice to join the fight in WWII. He desperately wanted to follow his 2 brothers into the Marine Corp, so he enlisted.
After training, he was shipped to the Pacific theather and ended up on day 2 of the landing on Iwo Jima. He was a light machine gun crewman with a rank of sharpshooter. He was honorably discharged in May 1946.
He married in 1947 and his only child, Donna Jean Lucas Dennis, was born in 1948. In 1952 the family moved to Bradenton and for a year he did odd jobs and helped his father-in-law build the family home on the Braden River. In 1953, needing a job, he decided to try the City of Bradenton Fire Department not sure of how long he would stay. But he said "it gets in your blood" and at the end of 27 years he had worked up to assistant chief before retiring. On his days off from the station, he worked at the Manatee County Property Appraisers office where he met and married the light of his life, Jo Ann Phelps Lucas. He remained retired only 3 weeks when he went to work as chief of the Westside Fire Department. He said "I just couldn't stay away". He was chief for 7 years before retiring in 1987. He truly enjoyed his 34 years as a firefighter. For several years after retiring, Les had a radio at his home and would get in his truck and go to the station when they got a call in case he might be of service.
Les and Jo Ann were married from 1971 until her death in 2003, 32 years. They enjoyed hunting, fishing, boating, lobstering, scalloping, camping, traveling, family get togethers, birding, hiking and motorcycle riding. They were also members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Les was a strong Christian, attending bible studies and ushering. He loved the Lord and was a long time member of Manasota Christian Chapel in Bradenton.
He is survived by his daughter Donna Jean Lucas Dennis. He also leaves behind his grandson, Matthew Dennis, his granddaughter-in-law, Emily Dennis, his great-grandson, Ian Dennis and his great-granddaughter Rachael Dennis.
His entire life was about service. Service to his God, service to his country, and service to his family and community.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: Tidewell Hospice at www.tidewellfoundation.org.
Bradenton Firefighter’s Association, 1010 9th Avenue West Bradenton FL 34205
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Bradenton Firefighter's Association
1010 9th Avenue West, Bradenton FL 34205
5955 Rand Blvd., Sarasota FL 34238