Sunday, March 13, 2011

My Tribute to Dad and Mom

Dear friends and family: Good morning! I hope you take the time to read this special tribute to dad and mom, and to read my heart thoughts about our family.
My dad, James Horald Lee, son of John Raymond Lee and Annie Eliza Keele, was born on the 14th of July, 1902 in Sunnyside, Nye, Nevada, and died on 24 March, 1976 at the age of 74, leaving behind a legacy of love which he shared with we, his sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters, etc., whom he dearly loved.
He married Jennie May Woodbury Lee on the 16th of November, 1922, in the Salt Lake Temple, and together they raised 11 children, and I was born the 5th child, on the 31st of December of 1932, during the depression years. In memory of two loving parents, and in celebration of my dad's birthday, I have written this poem, and share it with you as a tribute to dad and mom, on this 14th day of July which would have been dad's 104th birthday. He was preceded in death by our oldest brother, Blaine Nelson Lee, who died in 1948 from an accident, leaving behind his dear wife and three children, with a fourth one on the way. He was called home to head up the missionary work among our ancestors by our great-grandmother, Annie Eliza Keele, dad's mother, who died when he was a boy, leaving behind 10 children for his dad, John Raymond Lee, to raise.
Dad was also involved in the accident which took Blaine's life, and injured dad, and they were both in the hospital from Friday night to Sunday, when mom's father, Patriarch Charles R. Woodbury, called, and indicated that Blaine's life mission was over, and that it had been made known to him that we needed to pray that God's will be done, and let him go, as we were fasting at the time for both his and dad's recovery. So we knelt that Sunday afternoon in prayer, and prayed that His will be done, and Blaine passed away that Sunday afternoon.
When mom went in to tell dad that Blaine had passed away, he already knew it because his mother, Annie Eliza Keele had been there, and let him know that she had come for Blaine. He passed away the 18th of July in 1948, just 4 days after dad's birthday.
I was at church that Sunday afternoon when the Bishop got up and announced his passing, and I didn't know he had gone so soon, even though I was in the prayer circle that day with the rest of our family. When he announced it, I was moved to tears, and had to go out and cry, because I hadn't gotten to say goodby to him. I was 15 years old at the time, and was very sad that I wouldn't see him again for a long time. He was our big brother who had served his country in the Army as a Lieutenant, and was currently living in Emmett, Idaho, where we also lived on an 85 acre farm out in the country. He and his wife Thelma Marie Woods Lee, and their three children were living in a tent out on the desert, clearing some land for farming, which we had been helping him do, when the accident took place, while taking our tractor back home on our old truck.
The accident occurred out on a country road where they had pulled off to fix a flat tire on the truck, and was in the process of putting it back on in the dark, when a pickup came from the opposite direction, and seeing them working on the truck, with Blaine's wife and children across the street in their car, the driver of the pickup, thinking he would stop and help, applied his brakes, and the left front wheel locked up, and pulled the pickup right over into our truck, turned sideways, and came to a stop right where Blaine and Dad had been kneeling to put on the tire. And only a moment before, Blaine had said, "We need to hurry and get the lug nuts on before something happens," which they were doing right before the time of being struck by the hood of the truck which flew off when the pickup hit the bed of the truck, and the hood flew ahead, and drove Blaine and Dad under the back of the truck into the gutter, where they found them laying.
Dad recovered from his injuries, but Blaine was taken home to help with the missionary efforts in the spirit world, in teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to our ancestors who didn't have the opportunity of learning about it while in this life, and it is my feeling and conviction that dad is working with him as well as our younger brother, Rex, who was recently killed while riding his bicycle out on a country road, preparing for the Multiple Sclerosis marathon recently, and it is my belief and conviction that he, too has been called home to help carry on the work of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, in sharing the gospel with His children there. Rex served a mission in Korea when he was 19 years old, and was instrumental in teaching many of the Koreans about the Lord Jesus Christ, and His life and mission here on earth, and was instrumental in helping to alleviate the suffering of many people during the monsoon season there, when he engaged us as a family to help gather food and clothes for them, and we did so as a family, and was able to ship over 15,000 lbs for him to distribute among those suffering in Korea at the time.
I, too, had that opportunity in 1956 while serving in the Army between 1956 and 1958, when through mom's efforts, and a very cheritable heart, she singlehandedly began a drive for clothes, food and school supplies for the many orphans over there after the war, and she shipped over 20 tons of food and clothes, etc., and 200 dolls for me to distribute to the children there, as well as to a little orphan girl, Lee Eun Ok whom she was sponsoring at the time through a relief organization set up to help the orphans. I had the privilege of taking her Christmas presents to her, some clothes and a big doll which belonged to my little sister, which was almost as big as Lee Eun Ok was. What a Christmas that was, and what treasured memories rest softly in my heart as we went from orphanage to orphanage distributing the things which my mother, Jennie May Woodbury Lee had gathered and solicited from friends and neighbors and the community in Emmett, Idaho and surrounding areas, sometimes driving 200 miles in a day, in order to help alleviate the suffering of those little children.
The last Christmas I was there, mom made up her mind that she was going to gather coats and dolls for me to distribute to the orphans in an orphanage just outside of our compound, and I was able to arrange for the children to come onto the compound to be measured by the Korean tailors so that when the coats came, they would have been made over to fit them. And when they came out for Christmas Dinner with us that Christmas of 1957, they each received a coat tailored to fit them, along with a wonderful Christmas dinner. Sad to say, I wasn't there that Christmas day, as one of my buddies and I were driving a big 2 1/2 ton army truck loaded with things mom had sent to be distributed to the orphanages there in Korea, and in the process, was looking for the orphanage where Lee Eun Ok was, so I could deliver her Christmas presents to her, along with bags of clothes, etc., which mom had lovingly gathered to help them. As I ponder this memory which lays softly in my heart and mind, I can't stop the tears from flowing down my cheeks to think of being so lucky to having been born of goodly parents who loved the Lord and truly wore their lives out in the service of the Master. And I think of the scripture which shares Jesus' words when He said, "When ye do it unto one of the least of these, ye do it unto Me."
Yes, as a family, we were truly blessed to be born of goodly parents who loved the Lord, and faithfully served Him as they wore their lives out, doing work in the temples for their dead ancestors, and serving their fellow man wherever they lived. I could write a book about the experiences I had in Korea alone, and another about the many poems I have written through the years about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and His love for all mankind, who are His brothers and sisters, and who gave His life so that you and I could become heirs to all the Father has, if only we will obey Him, and keep His commandments, and endure to the end, no matter how hard it may seem to do so.
I know that mom and dad and Blaine and Rex will be waiting there to welcome us back home someday, with open arms, to join them, and to help to further Heavenly Father's work there, which is to bring to pass the immortality and the eternal life of man. And it is my hope and prayer that we may all be there together, to share with our loving parents, friends and family, eternal joy and happiness, and love, just as we shared it here. And may God bless each of you to be there, too, I humbly pray in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. Your friend and brother. Jim Lee
My Tribute to Dad and Mom
14 July 1902 - 14 July 2006
Back when I was a little child, 73 years ago,
My life was filled with sunshine, and heaven's afterglow.
I had no cares nor sorrows, no pain nor misery,
And I was very happy just being Jimmy Lee.
My brother and four sisters were in their growing years,
And it was the depression, with all its trials and tears.
Blaine came down in '23, the first one of eleven,
Then Farol came in '25, and she came straight from heaven.
And then in July of '26, Irene joined us here,
Then Ruby Rey and Jennie May joined our family dear.
And then in '32 I came, they named me after dad,
James Horald Lee Jr., and dad and mom were glad.
Then Ralph came down to join us in 1936,
And we grew up together, and learned a lot of tricks.
Then Helen came in '39, to join the James H. Lee clan,
And add her ray of sunshine, that's when her life began.
Then Charles Raymon joined us in 1942,
To add his love and laughter, and see what he could do.
Then Sharon, with her blond hair, came down in '43,
In American Fork, Utah, and joined our family.
Then Rex, our red haired brother, the last one of eleven,
Came down in May of '45, to share his love from heaven.
Since then, a lot of grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, too,
Have come to join our family, and that's including YOU.
Though jobs were scarce, my daddy worked to feed our family,
Doing odd jobs here and there, whatever they may be.
And mama made the clothes we wore, and somehow we got by,
Eating beans and homemade bread, our needs to satisfy.
Though life has been a struggle, with challenges galore,
We shared our love and laughter, though some thought we were poor.
But we were really very rich, with many blessings, too,
Because we all were healthy, and there were things to do.
And each of us learned how to work just like our mom and dad,
And when I think about it, it makes my heart feel glad,
Glad to be a part of the James H. Lee family,
With ten brothers and sisters, and their posterity,
Who number in the hundreds, all because of mom and dad,
Who fell in love and married, and made their parents glad,
Way back in 1922, as James Horald and Jennie Lee,
Who loved the Gospel very much, and lived life faithfully.
And some day in the great beyond, 'twill be a glad affair,
When we may be together, beyond earth's toil and care,
And hold a glad reunion, where mom and dad will be
Singing songs and sharing love with their posterity,
Just the way that they did here so very long ago,
Whene'er we got together, and let our lovelight show,
When we sang songs and harmonized in the good old days gone by,
And when I think about it, it almost makes me cry.
Praise God for our loving parents, named Jim and Jennie Lee,
Who've gone to dwell in heaven, awaiting you and me
To join them, and to share our love, and fill their hearts with joy,
With songs of glad rejoicing, which time can ne'er destroy.
With much love and gratitude, and happy birthday wishes, dad,
James Horald Lee Jr. and Betty Louise Kendall Lee
and family

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