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James Gillis Lee Sr.


James Gillis Lee Sr. passed away on Oct. 18, 2013, after a brief illness, in the loving arms of two of his sons.

He was born on July 11, 1927 to Aimee Peacock Lee and Wayne Edmend Lee. Jim was educated at Bay High School in Panama City, and during this time he also worked at the St. Joe paper mill. He spent many happy hours fishing in the St. Andrews bay with his brothers Wayne and Bill, and hunting in surrounding woods. He loved spending time with his sisters Aimee Jo, Anne Carey, and Ruth. He then attended the University of Florida and the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY, from which he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. Jim served in the Merchant Marine as a shipboard engineer dealing with boiler propulsion systems for six years.

Jim met Barbara Lockwood while attending Kings Point, and they married when he returned from sea on August 16, 1952. They had four children: Jim Jr, Doug, Steve and Laura. His shipboard boiler experience led him back into the paper mill industry which took the family from Florida to Texas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Alabama, Connecticut and finally Georgia. Jim designed an improved boiler which led to a job with Combustion Engineering and the design of new paper mills. He also worked at the Continental Can Company, Rust Engineering, and Georgia Kraft. Jim and Barbara retired in Panama City Beach, where they resided for the last 27 years. Jim and Barbara spent their retirement years fishing from the "Leeway" and sailing on "Sandor" and "Spirit" with friends and family. Jim and Barbara also lived onboard "Sandor" in the Bahamas, and Jim raced from Florida to Panama onboard his brother Wayne's sailboat.

Jim is survived by his wife of 61 years, Barbara, and their children and spouses, Jim Jr. and Kathy, Doug and Gena, Steve and Kathy and Laura Lee Sumlin and John; and grandchildren Rachel Lee, Katie Brender, Christopher Lee, and Chat and Carter Sumlin.

Services will be held at the Wilson Funeral Home on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 1 p.m. The family will receive friends afterwards at 5015 North Lagoon Drive. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be considered to the .

Wilson Funeral Home
Family Owned Since 1911
214 Airport Road
Panama City, Fla.
850-785-5272


Published in Panama City News Herald on Oct. 22, 2013
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