George Washington Lee

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

George Washington Lee, February 22, 1927 -- April 23, 2015, went home to be with his Lord on Thursday, April 23, 2015 at the age of 88. He is survived by his sister, Bonnie Tibbitts (CA), and two brothers, Darrel (MO) and Donald (IA). He is preceded in death by his brothers, Emil and Dayne Lee. He is also, survived by two daughters, Kelly (Lee) Baughn and husband Bill of Boulder, Colorado; Tammie (Lee) Kurth and husband Jerry of Liberal, Kansas. He will be missed immensely by his three grandchildren, Kendra & Hailee Baughn of Boulder and Jerron Kurth of Liberal, but most of all his lifelong friends, Wayne & Almeta Bortz of Claremore, Oklahoma. George was known for his wonderful sense of humor and his computer know-how. He gave special nicknames to his favorite family and friends, which they cherished. He dearly loved his favorite pups, Kaycee, Opal & Pepi! This loving father, granddad and friend will be deeply missed by all whose lives he touched.

Born on his namesake, George Washington's birthday, February 22, 1927 in Cassville, Missouri to Ernest Oren and Esther Leona (Smith) Lee, George was raised on the family vegetable and chicken farm just outside of town. He enlisted in the United States Army at the age of 16 (unbeknownst to the Army) proudly serving his country during World War II (June 1943 -- June 1945). He served a year in France before being dispatched to Germany where he was wounded by sniper fire while swimming across the Rhine River carrying cable for a bridge building foundation. He was with the 183rd Combat Engineers, one of many battalions to capture the famous Ludendorff Bridge on March 8, 1945 at Remagen, Germany. Later, while in the Reserves, he was called back to duty where he was stationed in Korea (Nov 1950 -- Nov 1952). He was wounded again in battle, this time by a bayonet. He didn't speak of his wartime service until recently, but George was very proud to be a veteran of his beloved country.

George was married to Betty (Heger) Lee in 1950 (for 25 yrs.); they met while George was with a Harvest Crew working their way across the Kansas farmlands. When he returned from the Korean War he had a long career at Panhandle Eastern Pipeline Company in Hugoton, Kansas; working his way up to the Accounting Manager. He also owned his own business, ReCom Co, Inc. (the predecessor to cell phone relay system) for many years. He was a forward-thinker and ahead of his time in the technology field. George also followed his passion obtaining his pilot's license but had to sell his plane once his health interfered with his flying. He replaced his plane with an RV and began traveling across America with family and friends. He enjoyed fishing, the Rocky Mountains, and meeting other "snowbirds" along the way. He loved his extended family, the Hegers, of Hugoton.

In 1984, he moved from Hugoton to Claremore, moving in with his best friends, Wayne & Almeta and staying for 30 years. The Bortzes became his Oklahoma family, going to reunions and RVing to Pagosa Springs every summer with them. He made wonderful and lifelong friends at his Lutheran Church in Claremore and spent the last 10 months at the Claremore VA Center where he made many new friends and was relegated as one of the favorite veterans among all the employees and nurses with his smiles and good humor.

A celebration of life for George Washington Lee will be held on Saturday, May 16, 2015, at 10:30 a.m. at the Redeemer Lutheran Church, Claremore, Oklahoma.