Some of Melissa Jester’s favorite memories over the past decade are from her time spent on the Barton Foundation board.
“I have enjoyed meeting so many new Foundation members over the past 13 years,” she said. “I’ve met some great people who I’ll always have great memories with, because at the end of the day, we fulfilled a lot of our goals together.”
Jester joined the Barton Foundation board in 2006, after retiring at a
young age from her career in real estate with Coldwell Banker. Born
and raised in Harrisburg, Penn., Jester met her husband of 48 years,
Jess, while attending college in Pittsburgh. A job opportunity led
them to the West Coast, and an unforgettable ski vacation brought
them to South Lake Tahoe more than 20 years ago. A strong connection with nature and infatuation with the Sierras, the couple decided to make a home in Zephyr Cove, Nevada.
“We are fortunate to live on the lake and enjoy the natural beauty and the environment,” she explained. “It allows me to be active with tennis, skiing, hiking and fly fishing.”
Jester has always been passionate about giving back, and when she moved to town, she had two main areas of focus: to get involved in outdoor activities, and to learn more about her community.
“When I moved here in 1999, I knew no one,” she said. “I was invited to my first Gala event and that is when I knew this organization was
the right fit for me. What a great way to meet new friends while contributing my time to the community and our local hospital!”
The mission of the Foundation has always spoken to Jester. By understanding health concerns in her community, she can give back to her neighbors and friends through the power of education.
“Our goal is to share information to our community, look for opportunities and spread the word to everyone we know about just how important our hospital and our Foundation are,” she said.
Especially interested in event planning, Jester is a “people person” and finds fulfillment in putting on events that people will always remember. In fact, in her 15 years on the board, the annual Gala became her favorite Foundation event.
Melissa and committee members at the 2007 Gala.
Melissa and her husband, Jess, getting in a great day of Tahoe skiing.
“I enjoy encouraging my neighbors to contribute to this cause,” she said. “Our hospital is extremely important to our small mountain community.
I appreciate the fact that I can personally express myself and be creative while offering my opinion to solve solutions.”
Outside of the Foundation, Jester is currently a board member with
the Zephyr Cover Tennis Club. She enjoys spending days with
Jess, having an occasional glass of wine with her neighbors and
friends on the beach during the summer, and sometimes spinning the Wheel of Fortune at a local casino.
She has two sons who reside in the Bay Area and a beautiful daughter-in-law, as well as bragging rights to a special grandson and granddaughter, ages 9 and 11.
Overall, Jester is grateful for the home she’s built in Lake Tahoe, as well as the many friends and memories she’s made at the Foundation. For more than a decade, her dedication and commitment has been admired and appreciated by the Barton Foundation.
“The Foundation connects the hospital to the community, and all of our events help to support our patients and their families,” she said. “It feels good to donate, it feels good to give back, and I’ve learned a lot!”