HONORING FLORIDA'S MOST IMPACTFUL AND INFLUENTIAL MEN.
“When is the last time you did something for the first time?”
Not only is this the motto Lester Seays lives by, but it could also sum up his life, which is full of ‘first time’ events.Seays was born in a small town in Georgia in 1938. Racial unrest caused his family to move to Florida. The family, including an older brother and younger sister, arrived in Winter Park, where Seays spent his youth and graduated from Hungerford High School in Eatonville. He gained higher education at South Carolina State University, where he studied physical education and biology; Mississippi Vocational in Itta Bena; and Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. Even though he played for several years in the National Football League, he says baseball was his first love; he actually entered college on a baseball scholarship. He also ran track.
Active around Orlando, Seays can point out some additional firsts and areas where he was instrumental. He was one of the first directors of the Boys Club, starting an afterschool program that included girls, resulting in the Boys and Girls Club. At the Westside Track Club, he was on the team that was the first to send five students to the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) Track and Field competition. As part of the Parks & Recreation Commission, he worked on securing the fairgrounds site. Seays also takes pride in his involvement with the Washington Shores Cemetery.
Concurrent to his career in recreation, Seays founded a video company, Video Memoirs. The company was a forerunner in videography for African-Americans in Central Florida. In 1993, he and his wife, Lillian, partnered to create LBS Publications, Inc., which became the parent company for Wedding Belles Magazine. In 1997, Wedding Belles closed its doors and ONYX Magazine was created.
Best known as the co-founder of ONYX Magazine, he says the magazine is also one of his ‘firsts.’ ONYX Magazine was named by Seays’ daughter and he credits Rev. Dr. Randolph Bracy as a major supportive catalyst for the magazine. The magazine started in Jacksonville and served that community for five years before moving to Orlando. Outpouring community support helped take the magazine statewide. Lester and Lillian Seays have been married for nearly 61 years.