John Roberts Jester was born June 8, 1875 in Cotton Hill, Clay County, Georgia. He attended Southwest Georgia Agricultural and Military College and graduated from Mercer University in 1899 with a BS degree. Jester attended the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky from 1904 to 1905. Throughout the rest of his life, Jester received honorary degrees of Doctor of Divinity from Oklahoma Baptist College, Bethel College, and Mercer University.
On October 25, 1900 Jester married Annie Allen Perry. The couple had five children.
Jester pastored for 53 years in several churches in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas. He began his ministry in 1893 before he attended Mercer University. Among other positions, Jester served as the Corresponding Secretary of the Georgia Baptist Education Board, the president of Oklahoma Baptist College, field secretary of the Foreign Mission Board, and vice-president of the Southern Baptist Convention. He retired to Columbia, SC in 1947 and then served as a supply pastor to over 40 churches in South Carolina. Jester died on May 14, 1965 in Columbia, SC.