Business Leader Joe Edwin Lee, Sr. passed away Sunday

Joe Edwin Lee, Sr.

                                  Joe Edwin Lee, Sr.


Joe Edwin Lee, Sr. went to be with his Lord and Savior on Sunday, April 17, 2016 at the age of 75 after a short but mighty battle with heart and lung disease.  He was born on May 26, 1940 in Conway, Arkansas to Esther Ann (Hall) Lee and James Carl Lee of Damascus, Arkansas.  He attended school in Damascus until the 6th grade and finished high school at South Side Bee Branch in 1958.  He grew up showing cattle as a young boy and developed his love for the car business working alongside his father at their Esso Station in Damascus.  He gave his life to Christ and was baptized at the age of eleven alongside his twin sister Lou in the original First Baptist Church building in Damascus, where he would later teach Sunday school.  Joe attended Arkansas Tech University and the University of Arkansas.  He was also a member of the National Guard.

Joe married his wife of 53 years, MaryLou (Lefler) of Clinton, Arkansas on April 12, 1963 at the First United Methodist Church in Clinton, Arkansas.  Joe worked for his father at the Esso Station in Damascus as a young boy until after he married.  He also worked for a short time on the local Titan II missile silos.  In 1967, he joined his wife’s family at Lefler Chevrolet and later fully purchased the business by 1981 and it became known as Joe Lee Chevrolet.  Joe enjoyed the car business and the cattle business his entire life.  Even though he often talked about retiring from both, he never gave up his love of people or the love of a trade.  Whether it was trucks, tractors or farms, Joe enjoyed connecting with people.  He so enjoyed the opportunity to help someone.   It was always his desire to give rather than to receive.  He spent countless hours making jelly for the pleasure of giving it away to hundreds of people.  He was a blessed man, who believed in giving back, and served on numerous boards and committees including the Area Agency on Aging, the Super Chevy Dealers, the Rotary Club and the South Side School Board.

Joe was dearly loved by his family and is survived by his wife MaryLou, and their four children, Joe E. Lee, Jr. (Joey) of Clinton, Ginger Ann Lee-Wood and her husband C. Mark Wood of Bee Branch Mountain, Susan Frances Lee-Ward and her husband Steven J. Ward of Clinton, Justin Russell Lee and his wife Jessica Caroline Stagg Lee of Clinton, and a beloved twin sister, Lou Ann Lee Burchfield and her husband O.D. of Wooster, Arkansas.  Joe is also survived by six grandchildren that he adored:  Abigail Suzanne Lester Bonds (22) and husband Lawson K. Bonds, Harrison Bradlee Lester (19), Rylee Jonmark Wood (18), Jacob Carson Wood (16), Anna Caroline Lee (14) and Gracie Kate Lee (12).  He is also survived by a host of nieces, nephews and cousins and a large group of dearly beloved friends.  He was preceded in death by his devoted parents, Carl (1979) and Esther Lee (1996).

A memorial service will be held on Friday, April 22, 2016 at 2pm at the First Baptist Church in Damascus, Arkansas where Joe was a lifelong member.  Long-time family friend, Bro. Tommy Hall will be officiating.  Honorary pall bearers will be the coffee shop gang that he loved so much and enjoyed on a daily basis.  Visitation will be held on Thursday, April 21, 2016 at Joe Lee Chevrolet from 6-8pm.  In honor of Joe’s wishes, he will “go rest high on the mountain” on his farm on Bee Branch Mountain that he loved so much.

In lieu of flowers, it was Joe’s desire that remembrances be made to Companion Spay & Neuter (589 Highway 65 North, Greenbrier, Arkansas72058), or Operation Kindness (P.O. Box 543, Marshall, Arkansas 72650), in honor of his wife’s lifelong commitment.

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