L.J. Lee 1907-1999
L.J. Lee, 92, of Bagley, died Sunday, May 9, 1999, at the Clearwater County Memorial Hospital in Bagley.
He was born March 18, 1907, at Glenwood, Minnesota, the son of Christian Ole and Minnesota Viola (Billings) Lee. His father C.O. Lee owned and operated a meat market in Glenwood for many years. In 1914, the family moved to Gonvick where the farmed near Berner and where L.J. attended country school.
During the years of 1925-1926, L.J. left the farm for short periods of time and worked in the harvest fields of South Dakota and North Dakota, in the woods of Michigan and Wisconsin, and for the Packard Motor Co. of Detroit, Michigan. In 1927 he went to work for his brother, Ralph, as a fireman on a steam shovel that his brother owned. For the next 20 ears, he operated gas, diesel, and electric powered shovels, draglines, and cranes in various parts of the United States, Greenland, and England.
He married Ferol Anderson, daughter of Jack and Dena Anderson on June 3, 1934 at Clearbrook. Ferol preceded hi in death on August 24, 1998.
From 1940 to 1945, L.J. was engaged in building an air force base for the United States in Greenland and was foreman for the United Kingdom installing heavy equipment in coal mines.
In 1948, he was elected as representative for the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 39 and held that position until he retired in 1968. During that time he also served as 9th Congressional District vice president of the Minnesota Federation of Labor.
L.J. was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1960 and after 12 years announced that he would not seek re-election. During his last term in the legislature he served as assistant minority leader. He was appointed by Gov. Wendell Anderson to be a member of the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to fill a one year vacancy. At the end of that year he was elected by the legislature to a six year term.
In 1970, L.J. was elected to the Garden Valley Telephone Co. Board of Directors. In 1975, he was elected chairman of the board, a position he held until 1992. He was the first director from this area on the Regional Commission.
L.J. Lee was active in community affairs and in politics. He took an active role in the amalgamation of the state Farmer Labor Party and teh state Democratic Party. He was the first Clearwater County chairman of the new DFL. party and later was elected 9th Congressional DFL. party chairman and was also a member of the state central committee. He was also state deligate to two national Democratic conventions and chaired two state DFL conventions.
L.J. was a Bagley City Councilman, Mayor, and was a Clearwater County Commissioner. He was also on the Bagley Senior Citizen's Board of Directors, a longtime member of Faith Lutheran Church, Fraternal Order of Eagles, longtime member of the Itasca State Park Advisory Board, and a lifetime member of the International Union of Operating Engineers.
Survivors include a daughter, Catherine (George) Pezdirtz of Chicago, Illinois; son, John (Audrey) of Bagley; four grandchildren; three great grandchildren; two nieces; and four nephews.
Funeral services will be Thursday, May 13, at 1 p.m. at Faith Lutheran Church in Bagley with Pastor Mardy Schermerhorn officiating. Visitation will be on Wednesday from 3 to 8 p.m. at the Cease Family Funeral Home in Bagley and one hour prior to the services at the church. Interment will be at the Bagley City Cemetery in Bagley.
Minnesota Viole Billings Lee
Ferol Ola Harriet Anderson Lee
1907–1998 (m. 1934)
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