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Leroy Melvin "Lee" Madrazo


1934 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Leroy Melvin "Lee" Madrazo Obituary
Leroy Melvin "Lee" Madrazo

Greenville - Leroy Melvin Madrazo, "Lee", passed away peacefully on Monday, August 6, 2018. He was 84 years old. Lee was born June 20, 1934 in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Lee was born to an Hispanic mother named Ortiz and given to an orphanage as an infant. After living in a number of foster homes, he was adopted by Joe and Reba Madrazo at the age of 8. He was lovingly raised by them in Youngstown, Ohio until he finished high school.

Lee was given a professional baseball offer to play for the minor league affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals but turned them down to join the US Air Force and trained as a flight line mechanic with the Korean War in progress. He was proud for the rest of his life to wear his Air Force Veterans cap to every event possible and to tell anyone who would listen that he served at "the Goose", USAF Base, Goose Bay, Labrador. His last post with the Air Force took him to Donaldson Air Force Base in Greenville, S.C. where he met his wife to be, Joyce Morse, at a USO dance.

Lee and Joyce were married in 1956 and would have celebrated 64 years of life together this September. After leaving the Air Force in 1957, he attended Presbyterian College on the GI Bill, graduating with a Major in History while working along with Joyce to support their newly born daughter. After completing college, he worked in the chemical and textile industries as an industrial engineer writing training manuals and doing human resources work. This experience led to the passion of his life, teaching!

Lee began his teaching career in Greenville County teaching at Hollis Middle School. From there he went on to teach for over 27 years in Greenville County with the majority of that time at Greenville Senior High School teaching History and Social Studies. He developed his own course in Advanced Comparative Government and taught this for over 15 years, long before AP courses were common in South Carolina schools. Big M, as he was called, was beloved by his students throughout his years in teaching and was always striving to instill in them excellence and the desire to learn and think for themselves. Lee was also the county bus supervisor and a high school basketball referee. When not working extra jobs, he was at home with his wife and daughter and "yard projects". He enjoyed his motor home and camping at Myrtle Beach, SC in the summers.

Lee leaves behind the love of his life, Joyce, his wife of 63 years and his daughter, Catherine Lynn (Dr. John Holcombe). He had three grandchildren, Philip Holcombe (wife Lyndsey), Lauren Bonnema (husband Brett) and Thomas (wife Jessica). He was always so interested in his 6 great grandchildren, Ben age 6, Caleb age 5, Mamie 4 years, Ethan 3 years, Phils age 2 and Harris age 1 and a half.

Most recently Lee lived with his wife Joyce at The Kirkwood by the River Retirement Community.

A Memorial Service is planned for Saturday, August 11th at 4:00 PM in the Chapel of Briarwood Presbyterian Church. In lieu of flowers the family would be grateful for donations to be made to the Lion's Club of which Lee was an avid member. The address is: Lion's Club International 300 West 22nd Street Oak Brook, Illinois 60523.
Published in The Greenville News on Aug. 10, 2018
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