Joe Madison Lee, 88, of Belgrade, Montana, joined his wife Betty and son Dwight in Heaven on June 18, 2016. Joe was born in Bozeman, Montana, on Nov. 22, 1927, to Sam Perry Lee and Maude (Carter) Lee where he grew up spending his days working the family ranch on Cameron Bridge Rd. In 1939, he moved to Reese Creek Rd where family still lives today. He attended Belgrade schools graduating in 1945. Joe served as the FFA State Secretary for two years as well as the State Farmer. Joe was also the captain of both the high school football and basketball teams. He was a member of the Farmers Softball Championship team.
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Joe married Betty Jean Tillman on June 16, 1951, at the First Baptist Church in Bozeman, Montana. Together they raised three children; Sherilyn Jo, Dwight Carter and Judy Lynette. Joe believed and invested years in his children, instructing them in the value of a hard work ethic in partnership with an unconditional, undying love. There was never a need to question how much Dad loved each of us. As well as an unyielding love for his family, Joe also loved and respected the land. He and Betty raised registered Angus Cattle and registered Suffolk Sheep, showing them at state fairs across Montana. Dad's success was partnered with his close friends and support; Mike Anderson, Dick Parker, Jack Hume and Dennis Biggs to whom our family is deeply grateful.
Dad was a charter member of the Montana Angus Association. He was a livestock division leader for the local 4H club as well as a member of the Gallatin County Fair Board. He was on the Montana Winter Fair Board and was chosen as a Hall of Fame Member. He was President of the Belgrade School Board and a Deacon at the Belgrade Federated Church. He was later elected a board member of the Four Corners Baptist Church. Dad was also a Mason, a Shriner, and an Elk. He was a member of the Montana Suffolk Association and the National Quarter Horse Association.
Among Joe's many community commitments, some of his favorite times were spent serving his Lord by generously helping and giving to others. He enjoyed making fudge candy, riding and training horses, teaching his grandchildren to fish, family picnics, being Sheri's Dad, hunting with Dwight and grandchildren, gardening with Judy, and giving tender loving care to Mom.
Joe is preceded in death by his parents; his wife of 64 years Betty; son Dwight; son-in-law Ken Dykstra; sisters Bernice, Bonnie, Sella, Thelma, Faye; brother Warren.
Joe is survived by daughters Sheri (Jeff) Romer of Harker Heights, Texas; Judy (Larry) Neiminen of Belgrade; daughter-in-law Mary Lee Belgrade; grandchildren Jodi (Dennis) Allen, Sky (Jessica) Patton, Jeffrey Lee, Emilee Neiminen, Jennifer (Ian) Dunstan, Samantha (Brent) Watson, Tiffany Romer and Adam Neiminen; great grandchildren Madison, Matthew, Bethany, JoeLyn, Carter and Cooper; nephew Chuck Sloan and niece Marceen Bloom as well as many other nieces and nephews.
A memorial will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, June 25 at Journey Church in Bozeman, Montana, followed by interment of the urn and dove release at Sunset Hills Cemetery. A reception will be held at Journey Church.
Memorials may be made in Joe's honor to the Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch, 1732 South 72nd Street West, Billings, MT 59106 or Eagle Mount, 6901 Goldenstein Ln, Bozeman, MT 59715.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.dahlcares.com.
His master replied, "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master."
Dahl Funeral Chapel
300 Highland Boulevard
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on June 23, 2016