John W. Lee, Jr.

John W. Lee, Junior of Hattiesburg, Mississippi died on Wednesday, October 27, 2021 at Wesley Medical Center in Hattiesburg from complications related to pancreatic cancer. He was surrounded by his family who showered him with Psalms and affection as he passed.
John is survived by his loving wife, Gayle Pittman Lee, his sons, Daniel Madison Lee of Hattiesburg, Dr. David Clark Lee of Hattiesburg, James Scott Lee of Hattiesburg, Thad Fleming Lee and his wife Carlyle Wolfe Lee of Oxford, and grandchildren, Madison Lee Trayser and her husband Kyle Thomas Trayser of Atlanta, John Scott Lee of Oxford, Rachel Alexa Lee of Meridian, John Daniel Lee of Oxford, and David Carter Lee of Hattiesburg.

John was born on March 28, 1943 in Laurel, Mississippi to Lexie Howell and John Wincie Lee, Senior. He was their only child and lived with his mother, her sister, Dimple Walker, and Dimple’s daughters, Treta and Jan, in Mize, Mississippi from 1944 until 1945 while his father served in the US Army. After World War II ended, John and his parents moved to Hattiesburg. He was a graduate of Hattiesburg High School where he lettered in football, baseball, and basketball. He was a pure shooter and won big games for the Tigers with last second jump shots. He was selected to play in the Mississippi High School All-Star game in Jackson and earned AllSouth Big Eight Squad honors as a forward.

John graduated from Hattiesburg High in 1961 and, with the aid of a basketball scholarship, attended Mississippi College in Clinton where he met Gayle at an ice cream social. They married on August 22, 1964 at the Crystal Springs Baptist Church near Tylertown. John graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1965 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.

John graduated from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1968. While a student in Oxford, he served as Student Body Treasurer and welcomed the birth of his first son. His next three sons were born in Hattiesburg where John practiced law. He was first given office space by then-retired Judge Lester Clark. In 1972, he began his own practice with his secretary, Helen Moreland, at 119 Hardy Street. In the next few years, John was joined by lawyers Rick Lambert and Vic Roberts.

John’s practice had a remarkable run for nearly 50 years. He served on the Board of Governors of the Mississippi Trial Lawyer’s Association and was a member of the South Central Mississippi Bar Association, the Mississippi State Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the Lamar Order at the University of Mississippi School of Law. He was also on the Advisory Board of Deposit Guaranty National Bank and Bancorp South. Though John never sought political office, he was deeply involved in local and statewide politics for nearly 40 years. Because his efforts crossed party and racial lines, John was given the Bridge Builder Award by the local chapter of Alpha Phi Alfa Fraternity during the Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast in 2013.

When not working, John loved spending time with his family, particularly during the Christmas season and on trips to Oxford and Destin. He was a devoted father who never missed any of his sons’ baseball games. He was a beloved grandfather and adored his many pets including the current Schnauzers, Stella and Stein, and his adopted cat, Cheddar.

Services will be held at 1:00 P.M. Monday, November 1, 2021 at First Presbyterian Church of Hattiesburg, where John was a member, with visitation beginning at 11:30 A.M. Burial will follow at Highland Cemetery. Pallbearers will be his three grandsons and Kyle Thomas Trayser, Christopher Lamar Waldron of Meridian, and Jonathan Cooper Thornhill of Hattiesburg. Honorary Pallbearers are Dr. David Bomboy, Dr. J.P. Culpepper, Dr. Eddie Holloway, Dr. John Nelson, Senior, Robert Jackson, Senior, Judge Dicky McKenzie, Judge Mike Randolph, Vic Roberts, and Dr. Paul Talbot, all of Hattiesburg.

The family would like to express their gratitude to the medical team that supported John over the last year, particularly Dr. Debbie Azar, Dr. George Azar, Dr. Bo Hrom, Dr. Kosana Simeunovic, and Dr. Deepu Thopill, whose compassion and care until John’s last breath will forever be remembered.

Memorials in John Lee’s memory may be made to Christian Services, Inc. in Hattiesburg and St. Jude Children Research Hospital in Memphis.