June 25, 1933 – March 11, 2018
Berlon Lee, age 84 of Leetown, MS passed away Sunday, March 11, 2018 at the State Veteran’s Retirement Home in Collins, MS. He was a graduate of Pearl River Community College, class of 1954 and Mississippi College, class of 1956, majoring in business with a minor in church music. After completing his education, Mr. Lee enlisted in the US Army and served in Stuttgart, Germany. He was honorably discharged in 1958. Upon returning home, Mr. Lee began his professional career as an employee with JC Penney Company and managed stores until 1972 in several locations, including Columbia, MS, Laurel, MS, Bogalusa, LA, Gadsden, AL, and Memphis, TN. During these years, he served as Music Minister in various churches, including East Columbia Baptist Church, Glade Baptist Church in Laurel, Superior Avenue Baptist Church in Bogalusa, and finally North Columbia Baptist Church. In January of 1973, Mr. Lee opened the Columbia landmark, Berlon’s Friendly Store. He continued involvement in Berlon’s through the early 2000’s, even after retiring to his childhood community of Leetown, near Picayune, MS. Berlon was extremely active in the community. He was longtime song leader and twice President of the Columbia Lions Club, and song leader in the Picayune Noon Lions Club after retiring. He twice served as President of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, and was on the board of directors for the Columbia Airport Authority and longtime deacon of First Baptist Church Columbia. In 1980, Mr. Lee was a major force behind “Celebration South”, which brought Walter Payton, Conway Twitty, comedian Grady Nutt, and 51 Miss USA contestants to Columbia. In 1992, he was instrumental in forming Main Street Columbia, Inc. and in 1995, developed Triple B Lakes, a 70 acre bass lake in Hancock County, enjoyed by many for over two decades. More recently, he served as the Hancock County representative on the Southern District Housing Authority Board of Directors and was a member of Lee’s Chapel Baptist Church. Mr. Lee was influential in the formation of the PRCC Foundation, which has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships to deserving students. He served on both the foundation and Board of Directors for many years. Mr. Lee was named Alumnus of the Year in 1991 and Distinguished Service Award in 2001. But he was most proud of the fact that he put over 20, 000 miles on the bus, “Ole Pearlie”, while driving for Dobie Holden’s football team and other PRCC athletes. His hobbies included flying, quartet singing, and playing guitar and piano. Mr. Lee was preceded in death by his wife, Willa May Lee; daughter, Lori Evelyn Lee; parents, James “Jimmy” Lee and Effie Stockstill Lee; sister, Ella Ree Palmer; and brother, Alvin Buron Lee. He is survived by two daughters, Bailey Lee of Columbia, SC, and Cary (Justin) Cluck of Tucson, AZ; two sons, Timothy Lee of Hattiesburg, MS, and Dave (Mirian) Lee of Columbia; a sister, Nell (Dempsey) Lee of Leetown; and three grandchildren, Meredith Lee, Noah David Lee, and Jennings Cluck. Visitation will be Wednesday, March 14, 2018 from 5:00pm until 9:00pm at Colonial Funeral Home in Columbia. Funeral services will be Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 11:00am at the funeral home chapel where friends may visit from 10:00am until service time. Dr. J. Roy McComb will officiate at the service and interment will follow at Lee’s Chapel Baptist Church Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Tom Porter, Louis Lee, Dennis McNelis, Donovan McComb, Brian Stewart, Chris Watts, and Guy Griffith. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Berlon Lee scholarship fund at PRCC Development Foundation, P.O. Box 5389, Poplarville, MS 39470 with “Berlon Lee” in the memo.
- Visitation Wednesday, March 14, 2018
- Visitation Thursday, March 15, 2018
- Funeral Service Thursday, March 15, 2018
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March 15, 2018
Bailey, I remember how sweet your dad was when I would run into him in Picayune. He was so proud of you and spoke fondly of the friendship you and Rachel share. You will miss him every day, but take comfort in all your wonderful memories. Hugs, Ms. Bonnie
Richard and Martha Beal
March 14, 2018
So sorry for your loss, heaven's gain. Both Martha and I are down with cold/flu so we will not share at the service. Know we are praying for y'all.
Carole Holden Lund
March 14, 2018
Berlon personified the "Spirit of the River" at Pearl River Community College (PRC). We all loved Berlon and looked forward to seeing him at Homecoming, football games, and countless other events. He entertained us with endless, humerous accounts of how he put those 20,000 miles on Ole' Pearlie to the delight of my parents, Coach Dobie and Earlora Holden, and ALL of us Wildcat fans. He brought joy, pride, love, and a sense of community to the entire PRC family. He was a light that lit us up and boldly proclaimed the source of that Light. GOD BLESS BERLON AND HIS FAMLY! We will miss Berlon dearly, Carole Holden Lund, for the entire Holden family.
March 14, 2018
Tim and extended family!!
So sorry for your loss, prayers for all during this time.🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏
Your loved one will always be as close as a memory, and the God of all comfort will always be as close as a prayer.