James Wayne Lee was born Oct. 19, 1948, at his grandparents’ home in Raymondville, Mo., to Gail (Merckling) Lee and James William Lee. He died July 27, 2016, while undergoing Hospice Care at Texas County Memorial Hospital following a long battle with cancer.

Jim attended church as a child at Friendship Community Church. He accepted Christ into his life at a young age and was baptized by Brother Rado Wilson. Most of his spiritual life was spent at Wildwood House of Prayer where he attended services as his health allowed.

Jim received his first five years of education at the two-room Friendship School just up the road from his home. When Friendship consolidated with Raymondville, Jim attended there and graduated as valedictorian of his eighth grade class. He attended Houston High School and graduated with the class of 1966. Due to a tragic car accident, Jim was unable to serve in the military. The injuries he received affected his life choices from that time on.

As a child, Jim worked with his dad developing skills in farming, the timber industry, heavy equipment operation, and auto mechanics; all of which he would use in careers later in his life.

At age 16, Jim began to work with his grandfather, Wayne Merckling, operating heavy machinery. He used this apprenticeship to master the trade and later assume ownership of the custom bulldozing company. During this time he was noticed by forestry department officials who were impressed with his techniques in land clearing, and the care he took to preserve standing timber. This resulted in Jim being featured in Forestry magazine articles in the 1970s.

Jim also spent some time with the Brown Shoe Company training to become a manager. He worked several years as an over the road trucker. His last occupation was working with his brother, sister-in-law, and other family members at Lee’s Salvage where Jim’s magnetic personality and quick wit made him a favorite with customers.

Jim married Delaina Lois Morgan on Jan. 5, 1979, at Wildwood House of Prayer. They made their home in Raymondville with their sons, Lonnie Dale and Darrell James. Later they were blessed with the birth of their daughter, Caroline Alicia. Jim loved his family and was never happier than when they all spent time together.

Jim was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Wayne and Sylvia Merckling; his paternal grandparents, Fred and Dove Emma Lee; his father-in-law, Victory Morgan; his daughter, Carrie; brother, Darrell Lee; brother-in-law, George Heath; great-nephew Aedon Heath; his uncles, Doyle and Norman Merckling and Leon Lee; and aunts, Bonnie Burch and Bettie Jones.

He is survived by his wife, Delaina of Raymondville; son, Lonnie Dale and wife, Jeramy, of Houston and their children, Taylor, Cameron, Ethan and Amber; his son, Darrell and wife, Jackie, of Summersville and their children, Brooklyn and Seth, Madison, Noah and Stetson; great-grandchildren, Cooper and Rynlee; son-in-law, Michael Goforth with he and Carrie’s children, Allyssa and Peyton. Also left to miss him are Jim’s parents, James and Gail Lee of Raymondville; his mother-in-law. Eula Morgan of Houston; his siblings, Becky Heath of Houston, Beth Ann Cooper of Nixa, Don Lee of Foristell, Kathy and husband, Dennis French, of Raymondville and Shirley and husband, Mark Hester, of Mountain Grove; sister-in-law, Michaelle Lee and brother-in-law, Jackie Ray Cooper, both of Raymondville; his brother-in-law, Donald Morgan and wife, Brenda, of Bucyrus; brother-in-law, Marion Morgan and wife, Linda, of Cabool; and brother-in-law, Ben Morgan and wife, Christine, of Colorado. Jim will also be missed by his aunts and uncles, nephews, nieces, great-nephews, great-nieces, cousins and many, many friends.

Jim will most definitely be remembered as a people person who had a song for every occasion and was able to put a smile on your face with a quick joke or a humorous insult. Thanks for all the good times, Jim. We love you.

Services were 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016, at Evans Funeral Home with Pastor Paul Murray officiating. Burial was in Friendship Cemetery. Pallbearers were Lonnie Lee, Taylor Lee, CJ Lee, Noah Lee, Darrell Lee, Marty Merckling, Nicki French, Michael Goforth and Bryant Cooper. Honorary pallbearers were Eathan Lee, Stetson Lee and Peyton Lee. Arrangements were under the direction of Evans Funeral Home.

Memorials may be made to the James Lee Memorial Fund c/o Evans Funeral Home. Online condolences may be sent to www.evansfh.com.

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