Lee Young Lamar was born in Tuskegee, AL, on Feb. 4, 1927, the second son of John Howard and Elma Jane Roberts Lamar. He passed away on April 10, 2020.
A graveside service for family will take place this week, and a celebration of life is planned for the future.
He attended Tuskegee city schools and then Marion Military Institute before joining the Navy right after graduation. He served on the USS New Mexico during the last year of World War II and was in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrendered. After discharge, he returned to Alabama to attend Alabama Polytechnic Institute (Auburn University) on the GI Bill. He earned a degree in agriculture and made many lifelong friends (and good stories} as a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. After graduation, he returned to Tuskegee to farm and work with his father, a general contractor. Then he met the love of his life, Mary Gail Renfroe of Troy, AL, on a double date with a college buddy, and life was never the same. After they married, Lee and Gail lived briefly in Alexandria, VA, before coming back to Tuskegee, where Lee joined the National Guard. They were stationed at Fort Sill, OK; Fort Polk, LA; and Fort McClellan in Anniston before permanently settling in Auburn. Lee retired from the Guard as a lieutenant colonel, then started a lawn service that over the years employed many young firefighters recruited by his son, fireman and later Auburn Fire Chief Lee Y. Lamar Jr. He also worked with his brother-in-law, Jake Renfroe of Pensacola, in the pecan business and subsequently established Lamar Pecan & Peanut, which has opened for the last 34 holiday seasons.
A man of character, integrity, and great charm, Lee read voraciously, staying impressively current on state, national, and world affairs. He was an astute observer of politics and culture and had a phenomenal memory for people, places, and history. He told great stories, and no one ever appreciated good company and good conversation more. He was our “face card” and will be sorely missed.
Lee is preceded in death by his parents; his beloved Gail and cherished son, Lee; and his niece, Susan Lamar.
He is survived by his brother, Howard Roberts Lamar, sister-in-law Shirley Lamar (Orange CT) and niece Sarah Lamar (Scott Gress; Savannah, GA); daughters, Mary Jane “Jay” Lamar (William B. Turner) and Catherine “Katie” Lamar Jackson (Kevin Jackson); daughter-in-law Anne Rose Streeter Lamar; grandchildren Darby Phillips (Patrick); Moriah Earnest (Chris); Anne Herbert (Wade MacDonald); Caston Smith (Caryn); Zachary Lee Lamar; William Turner (Angele Pelle); Elizabeth “Izzie” Turner, and grandson-of-the-heart Drew Heisler, as well as great-grandchildren Clara Worley, Hueston Earnest, Judson Phillips, Emma Gail Earnest, Grayson Phillips, and Blakely Smith. He is also survived by beloved cousins and extended family from Abbeville and Graball, AL, treasured Renfroe in-laws and nieces and nephews, and by his longtime friend and colleague Thomas Sullins of Tuskegee.
The family wishes to thank Dr. John Abrams and his staff for their long and superb care; Brenda Williams for her love, care, and great sense of humor; Carolyn Jordan, Jesse Strickland, Renee Booth, and Betty Wimberly for their friendship and enormous help over the last year; and the wonderful people at EAMC, especially on floor 2 Southwest, Encompass Health, and Bethany House.
Those wishing to make donations may give to the East Alabama Food Bank or to the charity of their choice.
Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home of Opelika, AL is directing.