LEE, DONALD EUGENE (1933 ~ 2012). The following in an obituary for former Texas House Member Don Lee. The obituary was published in a variety of newspapers throughout the state upon Lee's death.
Don Lee, former Harlingen city council member, state representative and business leader died August 26, 2012, after a long life of services through his philanthropic work with the Jaycees, the Elks Club, St. Alban's Episcopal Church, Harlingen Noon Lions Club, the Raymondville Masonic Lodge and, in Austin, the Ben Hur Shrine, Jesters and as a board member and unofficial "mayor" of his condominium homeowners' association.
The son of William Eugene Lee and Faye (Hudson) Lee (deceased), Don was born December 7, 1933, in Snyder, Texas. When Don was three years old, his family moved to Corpus Christi, and he later lived in numerous cities throughout Texas.
Following graduation from Raymondville High School in 1953, Don made his living by farming and working in the Raymondville Post Office. In 1957, he joined the Texas Department of Insurance as property rating territory supervisor in the Rio Grande Valley, and in 1961, he joined Quirk and Co., a general insurance agency based in San Antonio, as a special agent for the Rio Grande Valley.
In 1964, Don became a partner in Head and Lee Insurance, a general property and casualty agency in Harlingen. Two years later, he became the sole proprietor of the agency and remained so until its close in 1987.
Don's political career began when he was elected to the Harlingen City Council in 1979, where he served until taking office as state representative from Cameron County in 1981. During his time in the Legislature, he served as vice chair of the Public Health Committee and vice chair of the Insurance Committee.
In 1987, Don returned to the Texas Department of Insurance in Austin, where he was charged with the responsibility of getting the coastal wind pool insurance operation running, a project for which he had advocated during his time in the Legislature. While he had only planned to stay at Texas Department of Insurance for two years, he ended up being there, overseeing seven field offices and 75 inspectors until his retirement in 1994.
During his business career in Harlingen, Don was involved in many civic and philanthropic activities. He was particularly proud of his time in the Jaycees, where he was named Rookie of the Year his first year. The following year, he was elected president of the Harlingen Chapter and named Outstanding Area President and State Outstanding President. He later was named International J.C.I. Senator and received the Distinguished Service Award as an outstanding citizen in the community.
Under Don's leadership the Harlingen Jaycee chapter was the recipient of the Giessenbier Award, in addition to winning Outstanding Club in the state, placing in all 12 categories of competition, receiving nine awards for first place, two for second and on for third, an unprecedented feat in the chapter's 50 year history.
Don's many civic awards also included Elk of the Year and Outstanding Lion of the Year.
In addition to being an owner and director of the Town and Country Bank in Harlingen from 1966 until 1987, Don's many other trusted position in Harlingen included drive chairman for the United Way and the March of Dimes and serving on the boards of directors for the Chamber of Commerce, the Boys and Girls Club, and the Firemen's Pension Fund.
Don is survived by his significant other and the love of his life for 19 years (2011), Kathy Hall; his sons, Delton Lee and wife Terri of Harlingen; Clayton Lee and wife Christi of Liberty Hill; daughter Donna Lee Cato and husband Chris Cato of Birmingham, AL; nine grandchildren and three great-grandsons. He will also be missed by his many, many friends, neighbors. Poker buddies, former co-workers and a succession of well-cared-for condo cats, which he helped trap for neutering and release. Even in retirement Don continued his life of service and giving to others and was always ready to help a friend or neighbor in need of a ride, a tool, a task or a friendly chat.
A memorial service celebrating Don's life will be held on Wednesday, August 29, 2012, 6:30 p.m., at Buck Ashcraft Funeral Home with Pastor Danny Rodriguez officiating.
Visitation will be held Friday, August 31, 2012 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Harrell Funeral Home in Austin, TX.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, September 1, 2012, 10 a.m., at Harrell Funeral Home. Interment will follow at Texas State Cemetery in Austin, TX.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Ben Hur Transportation Fund, 7811 Rockwood Dr., Austin, TX 78757.
You are invited to sign the guestbook or leave condolence at: www.buckashcraft.com
Arrangements are with Buck Ashcraft Funeral Home.