Dr. Colonel James L. Lee, Jr.
The world lost a wonderful man, on Saturday, May 3rd, 2014 when Jim at the age of 80 passed away, at his home in Indianapolis with his family around him.
He was born in East Prairie, Missouri on October 8, 1933 to the late James Sr. and Esther Lee. Jim married the love of his life LaVerne Hartley on June 18th 1955; they were married for 58 wonderful years.
Jim was a life time learner and teacher, focused on his family, country, and helping others. Jim lived life with passion and was constantly reaching out to his family to coordinate family road trips that spanned the globe.
Jim graduated from Hickman High School Columbia, Missouri and continued on to receive a Bachelors of Science in Education from the University of Missouri.
Colonel Lee was a graduate of the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Missouri where he excelled and was named the Cadet Wing Commander. He proudly started serving his country in 1955 and spent 26 years on active duty until retiring in 1981. He was a Masters Navigator with over 4000 flying hours. His service assignments included Air Training Command, Strategic Air Command, Air University, Pacific Air Forces, the Air Force Institute of Technology, Deputy Commandant at the Defense Information School (DINFOS) and Director of Public Affairs at Warner Robbins, GA. While serving his country as a navigator on KC97 refueling planes and C-130's in the Vietnam War, Jim was an extraordinarily detailed and successful navigator (never lost and never downed). He was awarded many medals and awards including the Bronze Star Medal. The Colonel furthered his education by earning a Master's Degree in Education and a PhD in Education Administration both, from Iowa State University. Jim actively taught and led the ROTC programs at both Iowa State and Coe College. While at Coe College, Jim was an assistant basketball coach, and helped lead the 1976 team to an Undefeated Season and a Division III number 1 ranking.
Full of energy following his retirement from the military, Jim became the Assistant Principle at Belzer Middle School then later a teacher at Lawrence North High School where here he spent 15 years molding and shaping young minds. Through his teaching, leadership, and ability to connect to people, Jim was able to influence many young men and women towards a better path. Jim so enjoyed the education environment that he would return every November to Lawrence North High School for Veterans Day to celebrate those who served in the armed forces.
Jim was a friend to all, and as you look back on his life, while not stated, he lived by the golden rule of treat others as you would want to be treated. Family cannot recall a negative word said about anyone. Jim's enthusiasm for the smallest of tasks and attention to detail could make almost any tedious project fun.
Jim and LaVerne have four children, 2 daughters in laws, Terry, Cheri, Mike & Chris (Diaforli), Steve & Adrianne (Benton). They have 4 wonderful grandchildren Courtney, Arianna, Caitlin and Broderick.
Jim has six brothers and sisters and a family tree of Lee's that would meet every five years to celebrate their love and heritage. Jim and LaVerne would routinely hop in the van and drive cross country to help a family member in need, attend a high school graduation, or just spend time for those that needed healing.
Jim was an avid tennis and racquet ball competitor, well into in his 60's. Jim took great pride in being able to defeat any man but even more pride in defeating men half his age. His greatest joy was watching his children and grandchildren in their endeavors.
Jim was a member of Phi Delta Kappa, and was President of Rotary Club. Jim and LaVerne are members of the Castleton United Methodist Church and we hold on to God's promise of living with him and having everlasting life.
Visitation will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 8th at Flanner and Buchanan - Lawrence , 5215 N. Shadeland Ave. Indianapolis, IN 46226 (317) 562-0145.
The funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, May 9th, 2014 in Castleton United Methodist Church, 7101 N. Shadeland Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46256. Burial will follow the funeral in Crown Hill Cemetery, 700 West 38th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46208.