McLaurin Funeral Home & Pinecrest Memorial Park

12830 US 70 Business Hwy W, Clayton, NC


Phillip Murray Lee

March 24, 1948August 17, 2018

Phillip Murray Lee (Phil), 70, of Clayton, passed away on August 17th at Wake Med Hospital, Raleigh.

Visitation will be Monday, August 20 from 7 PM-9PM at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 2920 NC Highway 42 Clayton, NC 27520. McLaurin Funeral Home, Clayton, NC is in charge of arrangements.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 11AM on Tuesday, August 21 at Holy Cross Lutheran Church with Pastor Bill Beyer officiating.

Phil was born on March 24, 1948 to Harold and Annie (Cox) Lee. He grew up in Newton Grove and graduated from Meadow High School. Phil received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from Campbell University. He married his college sweetheart Margaret (Kailos) on September 7, 1969. Together, they raised two daughters.

Having never met a stranger, Phil had a long and illustrious career loaded with accomplishments. Phil retired in 2015 as a Principal from Johnston County Schools. Phil was named “Principal of the Year” during his four year stint at Selma Middle School He impacted COUNTLESS lives and was loved by all who knew him. His positivity and humor were just two of his many fine traits. He fit perfectly into his administrative role after a successful 11-year career in coaching Women’s Basketball at Vanderbilt University, where he won the NWIT. He was also named as one of the top 10 recruiters in the nation. Phil loved to engage with anyone about politics, Carolina Panthers Football, or Tar Heels basketball. He found his greatest joy in family and helping others.

Phil began his teaching/coaching career in Hampton, Va. Phil went on to help open Phoebus HS in Hampton. In his second year there and having been named Girl’s Basketball Coach, he led his team to the State’s AAA Champions. This was done with no seniors on the team.

Phil is survived by his loving wife of almost 49 years, Margaret; his children Becca (Brian) Nelson of Raleigh and Ellie (Jeff) Brown of Zionsville, IN; his four beloved grandchildren, Charlie, Henry, Harper, and Gus; his twin brother Waiston (Dorothy) Lee and his brother Wayne (Cynthia) Lee, along with a host of nieces and nephews.



Phillip Murray Lee

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Glenda Nixon

August 29, 2018

I was Coach Lee student at Spratley Jr. High. He was a great teacher and a great coach at Phoebus High School. My sincere condolences to the family.

George Williams

August 29, 2018

Coach Lee was among my favorite teachers of all time. I was his student at Spratley Jr. High in Hampton VA at the beginning of his career. I cannot say enough about how much he influenced me. He was fun and kind. He allowed me to be a manager for the state champion Girls’ Basketball team at Phoebus High School and I had a chance to his skill as a coach and leader up close. His loss saddens me tremendously. May he Rest In Peace.

Tracy Adams

August 23, 2018

Mr. Lee coached me in basketball his 1st year back at Meadow in elementary. I still use several of his drills and coaching philosophy I learned under him when coaching my kids team today. I will never forget him having the History bowl team over at his house on a Sunday to study and watch a little basketball. He was great teacher and mentor!

MIm Ford

August 21, 2018

Phil was a funny guy. Enjoyed getting to know him the brief time I lived in Riverwood. I remember looking at the eclipse with him and hearing stories about the chickens roosting early .... and Arby’s . Margaret heaven has gained another angel. As social as my Mother and Fatherwere I am sure she was there to greet him at the gates of heaven. God bless you amd your family.

Kim Ford

Rosemarie Piccirillo

August 21, 2018

Mr. Lee gave me an oppurtuntity to teach again when I left due to my fathers death. He was an amazing support system. He always checked on me and guided me through many difficult situations. To sit down with him was like sitting down with your very best friend. Just a genuine and inspirational man who's passing will impact many who knew him for a long time. I played basketball and coached basketball, but learned more basketball in those moments with Coach Lee then in my whole career. He will be missed.

Jane (Royall) Yarbrough

August 20, 2018

My sisters Holden, Julia and I would like to send our love and prayers to the Lee family. Mr. Lee was a principal to all three of us and to Julia and me twice in Elementary and High School. He perfectly mixed kindness and with respected disciple that set his students and schools up for success. We know his family and the thousands of teachers and students he impacted will miss him greatly.

Jane, Julia and Holden Royall

Amanda Strahin

August 20, 2018

I was lucky enough to attend school under Mr. Lee from 5th-12th grade at Selma Middle School and Smithfield-Selma High School. He is one of the main reasons I am now a teacher myself. He always put us first as students and never hesitated to goof off with us if time allowed. He was an amazing role model and leader. He touched so many lives and I know his name will be remembered for many years to come.

Debra Holmes

August 19, 2018

I had the privilege of student teaching under Phil at Smithfield Elementary. I remember being so impressed that he took time to check on me weekly to see how I was doing-a lowly student teacher! Some years Later, Phil hired me at Selma Middle when I wanted to try Middle School, and then several more years later, he hired me at Riverwood. Interviewing with Phil was more like having a conversation with an old friend. He once told me that family came first and never to worry that I had to stay home with my sick child. Phil was one of the most caring and compassionate principals that I have worked with. To his family-you should know that Mr. Lee will be remembered fondly and with great respect by countless students and teachers who lives he touched. I am one of those.

Wayne Hernandez

August 19, 2018

He was my principal back in 4th and 5th grade at Smithfield Elementary School, in the late 90s; and then again my senior year in high school at SSS. In elementary school I spent a lot of time in his office, he had a lot of talks with me. He always know how to talk to kids, to find out what was going on, and how he could help; he really cared. In high school, he always made time if you needed to talk to him about anything. I remember when he first came to SSS; I thought it was awesome to have my old elementary school principal, who helped me out so much those years, give me my high school diploma.

Shiwanah Bangham (Welch)

August 19, 2018

I was fortunate enough to begin my teaching career 19 years ago working for Mr. Lee at Selma Middle School. He is still the BEST administrator I have ever worked for. Even after I moved away, he stayed in touch and continued to mentor me. To his family, Mrs. Lee, Ellie, and Becca, thank you for sharing your husband and father with so many people, especially me. I loved him and will miss him. Praying for all of you to be comforted by the MANY beautiful memories you have with him.