James Lee

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 27, 2010

On Thursday, Feb. 25, at Carrington Place in Chesapeake, Va., James Clifton Lee went to be with the Lord.
He was born in Holland, Va. on Jan. 7, 1916 to Chester and Laura Lee. He received only a 7th grade education but taught himself how to read, write and to do arithmetic beyond the 7th grade. He also taught himself how to play the harmonica.
After he met and married Viola Claytee Vann on Dec. 24, 1938, he became employed as a chef at Nansemond Hotel. To this union four children were born: Earlene Marion Lee Banks, Shirley Elizabeth Lee, Evelyn Janet Lee Wall and James Calvin Lee. His wife was employed as a school teacher, but he asked her to retire to raise the children. He then became employed at the Norfolk Naval Air Station as a crate packer. Three of those four children chose to attend college on his salary only, but all four obtained prominent careers. Three are fully retired. Lee retired at the Naval Air Base in 1973 after 35 years of employment. His wife of 60 years died on July 11, 1998.
Accomplishments include joining East End Baptist Church, being recognized and presented a 50-year member plaque in 2008. He was a member of the Sunday school class No. 1 and served as a deacon for about three years in the ‘80s during the late Dr. C.J. Word’s pastorate. He loved to cook and his specialty was making potato Jacks and pies. He also loved the color red, baseball, playing Chinese checkers, dominoes, Ford automobiles and serenading his children and friends with his harmonica. He loved serenading residents at nursing homes where he resided when his health began to fail in the early 2000s. His favorite hymns were “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” “Sweet Hour of Prayer,” “My Faith Looks Up to Thee” and many others.
He is survived by his four children; three grandchildren, Charlene Laverne Banks Jones (Willie), and Mark Edward Wall, both of Suffolk, and Melvin Kinston Banks Jr. (Kinesha), from Greenville, S.C.; four great-grandchildren, 1st Lt. Corey L. Banks, who is currently serving in Iraq; Charnele LaVone Banks, of Suffolk; Reshawn Rhoades and Tamesha S. Banks, of Greenville, S.C.; one great-great-granddaughter, Charniece LaNae’ Banks; a sister, Dora Scott (Herbert); one sister-in-law, Maddie D. Vann; and a foster sister, Mary Jordan, all of Suffolk. He is predeceased in death by his parents, a brother, Thomas Lee; a foster brother, Earnest Edwards; a sister, Della Randall; and several aunts and uncles.
Now he is at peace because he loved the Lord.
A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m., Tuesday, March 2, 2010 in East End Baptist Church, officiated by Dr. Mark Croston. Interment will be in Carver Memorial Cemetery. The body will be placed in church at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday. The family will be at the home of Evelyn Wall, 1213 Blythewood Lane, Suffolk. Crocker Funeral Home is handling the arrangements. Condolences may be extended to the family at www.crockerfuneralhome.com.

Email newsletter signup