ACKERMAN — Dr. Billy Eugene Lee died June 30, 2011. Funeral services will be held July 6, 2011, at 11 a.m. at Coleman Funeral Home in Ackerman. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. July 5.
Bill was reared in the East Lincoln community near Brookhaven. Growing up at Perch Creek with seven siblings and all their friends, he was a people person from the start. He had a gift of making people feel good. He loved sports and played football at Monticello High School. After graduation, he joined the Marines and served in China and Okinawa in WWII. When he returned home, he studied and played football at Copiah-Lincoln College. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Mississippi State University and his PhD in education at the University of Mississippi.
Bill started his teaching career at Lee High School in Columbus where he coached, taught and later became the youngest principal in the history of the school. It was in Columbus that he met and married Betty June Worrell on March 9, 1951. Their love of teaching forged an enduring bond, and they were married for 53 years and two days until her death in 2004.
After moving to Biloxi, he served as assistant superintendent of schools where he enthusiastically ushered in the Head Start Program and helped shepherd the Biloxi school system during the tumultuous 1960s. While in Biloxi, he was also director of the Keesler Center and an associate professor at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Throughout his career, he was active in the Lions Club, serving as its president while in Columbus. He and Betty June were dedicated educators who touched the lives of many students. Among their many charitable contributions is a scholarship in her name that supports the continuing education of teachers. Bill had the intellect of a statistician, the heart of a poet and the ferocity of spirit of an athlete. He wrote about every incidents, warm friendships and beloved family. He was a member of Faith Baptist Church in Starkville and remained loyal to churches that had impacted his life.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 53 years, Betty June Worrell Lee; his mother, Elsie Thames Lee; his father, Mack Lee; a sister, Bunah Latham; and four brothers, Girault Lee, Leonard Lee, Druie Lee and Jack Lee. Surviving siblings include Elaine Lee Stevenson, of Jackson, and Fay Lee Ivey, of Locust, N.C. He is also survived by his niece, Dr. Gloria Massey, and nephew, Dr. Mike Massey, of Montgomery, Ala., and hundreds of friends and relatives.
The family requests that memorials be made to the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Foundation Betty June Lee Scholarship at mgccf.org.