Billy Gene Lee was born December 30, 1934 on a farm in a rural area of Franklin County, Mississippi. He was the sixth of nine children born to Andrew C. Lee and Matilda Robertson Lee. At the age of 7, his family settled in the nearby Eddiceton Community of Franklin County where he lived until his graduation from Meadville High School as an honor graduate in 1953.
At an early age, his goal in life was to complete high school and college so that he might advance in life and become a productive citizen. After a brief tenure in Mobile, AL he realized that his goal for college would have to be put on hold due to a lack of sufficient funds, so he enlisted in the USAF. His last Air Force assignment in December 1955 brought him to Robins Air Force Base from an assignment in Korea. While attending church at Mikado Baptist Church in Macon, GA he met his future wife, Mary Elon Faircloth who was the church pianist. Almost a year later they were married on February 9, 1957 at Mikado Baptist Church.
Discharged from the Air Force October 1, 1957, he enrolled at Mercer University in Macon from which he graduated in June 1961 with a BA degree in education with a major in English and minor in Greek. Before completing his student teaching at Rumble Jr. High School in March 1961, he began his career in Education teaching English, social studies and journalism at Rumble Jr. High School in Warner Robins.
After five years of teaching he was chosen to be principal of Bonaire Elementary School. After two years of service at Bonaire Elementary he transferred to Watson Elementary. Three years later he was selected to be principal of the new Richard B. Russell Elementary School where he would have the opportunity, with a handpicked faculty, to develop and provide new concepts and theories in education. Under his leadership skills, Russell School soon became recognized as one of the outstanding schools, not only in Houston County, but also in Georgia. In 1986 Russell was the first elementary school in Houston County to be recognized as a Georgia School of Excellence and at the same time was nominated as a National School of Excellence. Russell school served as a model for several special programs. He later received the Georgia School Bell Award for Excellence in leadership.
For 24 years, Russell Elementary School was a most significant part of Billy's life. After almost 35 years in the field of education, Mr. Lee retired in June 1995 and has faithfully shared his creative talents and special interests in his church and community.
Billy enjoyed playing the organ and piano, doing crafts, sewing, creating and doing genealogical research. He was very talented in designing and creating fashions for his wife and daughter as well as tailoring suits for himself. In 1996 he published a family history, Lees and Related Families of Southwest Mississippi, and leaves three additional family histories ready for publication.
Since his arrival in the middle Georgia area in late 1955, Billy has actively and faithfully served his community in Baptist churches in Macon and Warner Robins. It has been his privilege to serve as deacon, choir member, organist, Sunday School teacher, and on various committees. He was ordained as a deacon in 1963 at Mikado Baptist Church in Macon. Since 1979 he and his family have worshiped at Central Baptist Church in Warner Robins where he has continued to serve his Lord and Savior as deacon, choir member, treasurer for 25 plus years, Sunday School teacher, and on various church committees.
Billy was preceded in death by his wife of 61 years, Mary Elon Faircloth Lee; parents; four brothers Clyde, Thomas, Oliver, Curtis and a sister Clara Lee Surratt. He is survived by a daughter Mary Elizabeth Lee Cipolla and husband Michael of Warner Robins, and a son Lt. Col. (Ret. USAF) Gene Carey Lee and wife Karol of Kathleen; grandsons Kevin Lee Cipolla of Warner Robins and Greer Andrew Lee of Kathleen; granddaughter Caroline Rachel Lee of Kathleen; two sisters Gaye Lee Metcalf (Jerry) of Vero Beach, FL, Faye Lee Smith of Brookhaven, MS; one brother Earl W. Lee of Petal, MS; three sisters-in-law Elizabeth Lee, Glyna Lee and Glendell Lee of MS; and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family will receive friends from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 at McCullough Funeral Home. His service will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 in the chapel of McCullough Funeral Home. He will be laid at rest in Magnolia Park Mausoleum.
Learn more about the measures McCullough Funeral Home is taking to ensure the health and safety of our guests at www.mcculloughfh.com. There you can also sign an Online Registry for the family. McCullough Funeral Home and Crematory has the privilege of being entrusted with these arrangements.
Wednesday, April 13, 2022
1:00 - 3:00pm (Eastern time)
McCullough Funeral Home
Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Starts at 3:00pm (Eastern time)
Chapel of McCullough Funeral Home
Magnolia Park Mausoleum