CARBONDALE — Early "Peaches" Laster, 70, formerly of Carbondale, passed away peacefully Thursday, July 2, 2020, in Wheeling, after a long illness.
He graduated from Carbondale Community High School in 1967 where he was a standout three-sport athlete. "Peaches" was a member of the CCHS Terrier 1967 basketball team that finished second in the IHSA State Tournament under the one class system. He, along with his team, was inducted into the IHSA Basketball Hall of Fame as well as the CCHS Athletic Hall of Fame. After high school he continued his athletic and educational pursuits at the University of Utah where he was a member of the basketball team that played in the NIT tournament in New York. He graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Sociology.
U.S. District Judge J. Phil Gilbert, a teammate and close friend said, “For a big man ‘Peaches' was quick and agile and with his six- foot, six-inch, 230-pound frame was a force on and off the court.” Gilbert said that in many respects "Peaches" was the face of the team not only for his size but also his nickname. In his life endeavors he was respected and admired by all who knew and worked with him."Peaches" started a career with the Illinois Department of Corrections where he held various positions, retiring after 25 years of service as Warden of Southwestern Illinois Correctional Center located in East St. Louis. A devout Christian, he served as a deacon and became an ordained minister at his local church in Fairview Heights, before relocating to the north suburbs of Chicago. "Peaches" was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, community volunteer and friend who loved to entertain and cook for family and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Atlas and Rose Ella Laster; and his older brother, Atlas Laster Jr.
He is survived by his wife, Calmetta, of 28 years; three sons, Tony Laster, Austin Laster and Early "E.J" Laster II along with five grandchildren. He is also survived by five sisters, Margaret (Ed) Mayberry, Frances (Don) Davenport, Phyllis (Tariq) Khaaliq, Kathy Laster, Rhonda Laster; and one brother, John Laster, along with numerous nieces, nephews and friends.
A memorial service is planned for a later date.
Memorials may be made to the American Alzheimer's Association.
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