OBITUARY

Melvin Lewis Lee

August 28, 1926July 4, 2017
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DR. MELVIN LEE, PHD

AUGUST 28, 1926 - JULY 4, 2017

Melvin was born in Oklahoma City to Gwendolen and Ernest Lee. He had two brothers. Robert, the oldest and Donald, the youngest. Robert was killed in WWII on the Battle of the Bulge. Donald lives in Oklahoma City with his wife, Pamela. The most influential person was his mother. She raised 3 boys by working in the home as a seamstress and cleaning houses only if she could take her youngest along. She always had the boys in Church on Sundays and most Wednesday nights. She never complained He became interested in music while in the 8th grade at Harding Jr. High where the Oklahoma City Symphony played a concert. He decided then that is what he wanted to do in life. Mel started playing the French Horn and dedicated his life to that goal. Due to shortage of musicians, after Pearl Harbor, he was given the opportunity to play in the Oklahoma City Symphony, while still in high school at Classen High. His salary was $25.00 per rehearsal and performances. In 1944, after graduation from high school, he joined the Naval Air Corps and in 1945 was ordered to the Philippines. After his discharge, he enrolled at Oklahoma City University and received his degree in music in 1949. Mel took his first teaching job at Jackson Junior High. Around that time, he received his Masters Degree from the University of Michigan. In 1953, he married Sue Parkinson. They were married for 23 years. They had two children, James and Lori. Sue passed away in 1976. In 1954, Mel took the band directors job at Capital Hill High School. He taught there until the fall of 1964. Mel was hired by the University of Central Oklahoma as director of bands. He also taught Music Theory, Conducting, Music Education and several other courses. Mel taught at UCO until retirement in 2000. In 1969, Mel received his Doctorate of Music from the University of Oklahoma. He has performed with the Amarillo, Enid and Lawton Symphonies. He spent 10 years playing with the Lyric Theater, 23 years with the Oklahoma City Symphony and several other Community Orchestras. Mel also thoroughly enjoyed judging music contests. Honors include: Inducted into the Oklahoma Bandmasters Hall of Fame, Honorary member of Phi Beta Mu-(International School Bandmaster Fraternity), Former secretary of the Oklahoma Chapter of the American School Band Directors Association and the International Horn Society. On August 6, 1980, he married JoAnn Fulton Marrs. JoAnn had two daughers from a previous marriage, Beth Reagan and Dana Myers. Mel loved them as if they were his own and they loved him deeply. Mel was a man of deep faith. He loved the Lord, his family, reading the Bible and Metropolitan Baptist Church where he started the church orchestra and played every Sunday as long as his health allowed. Mel will truly be missed. Survivors include: Wife, JoAnn Lee; Son, James Lee (Fin) of Thailand; Daughter Lori (Craig) of Southlake, TX; Grandchildren Addie, Carson, Brady, Davis and Sasha; Brother, Donald and Pamela Lee (Emma) of Oklahoma City; Step-daughters , Beth Reagan (Mike) of Allen, TX, Dana Myers (Mike), of Arlington, TX and numerous nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: The Melvin Lee Endowed Scholarship for Music Education. To donate: checks should be made to: the UCO Foundation. "Mel Lee scholarship" in reference line.

Or donations may be made to Metropolitan Baptist Church, Oklahoma City.

Arrangements under the direction of Chapel Hill Funeral Home, Oklahoma City, OK.

Services

  • Visitation Friday, July 7, 2017
  • Funeral Service Saturday, July 8, 2017
REMEMBERING

Melvin Lewis Lee

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John Pennington

November 8, 2017

To know Mel was more than a privilege, for he was a blessing to all with whom he came in contact. His passing was made known to me only recently. I very much would have made the trip to OKC for his memorial. My association with Mel included sitting directly behind him thirteen years in the OKC Symphony. His playing was an inspiration for accuracy, excellent pitch, articulation and attention to detail. In the field of teaching, he was for me coming out of college, a post graduate course. On a personal level, there was not a better fellow to be with when traveling to gigs and judging events. Yeah Mel, save me that Bass-bone seat behind you in your new gig. As God is in his heaven, you friend are there also. Your admiring friend, John Pennington

Carol Taylor

August 29, 2017

I am still sad at the passing of Dr. Lee, so I decided to go ahead and write this late entry. It was a sincere pleasure to know him when I was a student (from 1970 through 1975) and as a UCO music department employee for 12 years. I never saw him in any kind of mood other than smiling and kind (as many others have said). What a wonderful tribute!! I know many, many people still miss him (as evidenced by birthday wishes to him yesterday). I hope that, even in Heaven, he is aware of all the love and friends who surrounded him on earth. Maybe he is already directing a band that we can all play in someday! Thank you, Dr. Lee, for the encouragement and love you gave to so many people. We all miss you.

Alex Claussen

July 22, 2017

Dr. Lee, you made an enormous impact on my life. You taught me more than just how to be a better musician. You taught me to be a better human being. It was such an incredible honor to play for your service! We love you and miss you!!

Linda Canada-Smith

July 10, 2017

Dr. Lee was my dir. at Central State and even though my maj. instrument was clarinet I ended up taking 2 sem. of French horn from Dr. Lee and loving the instrument. I also loved conducting because of the classes I had with him. There were so many fond memories from my time with him. Prayers going out to the family during this time. He will be missed. I will always remember his smile.

Larry Newton

July 10, 2017

Dr. Lee was my favorite at Central State. I took Horn lessons from him in High School and then again in College when he moved to Central State.

Rosa Pennington

July 9, 2017

Dr. Lee was at Capitol Hill High School when I was in band at Central High School. Many of my friends were with the Band at Capitol Hill. Later in life, my husband and children knew him professionally. He has been a part of our life since 1951. He will be missed. A wonderful person! Rosa Mae (Fuller) Pennington.

July 8, 2017

DR. OR MR. LEE AS WE KNEW HIM. I WAS ONLY IN THE BAND FOR ONE YEAR AT CHHS, BUT WHEN I WAS AT CHJH AND HE WAS AT JACKSON HE TAUGHT ME HOW TO PLAY THE CLARINET. HE WAS A GREAT LEADER AND WE HAD A GREAT BAND IN THOSE DAYS AT CAPITOL HILL. CONNIE CREW BAND YEAR 56-7 GRAD CLASS OF 59.THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES. MAY THE LORD BE GRACIOUS TO YOUR FAMILY DURING THESE DAYS.

Andrea Cordes Avance

July 8, 2017

I have a special place in my heart for Dr. Lee. In 10th grade I asked my high school band director (John Pennington) who I should see for horn lessons. He told me to contact Mel Lee because he was the very best. And, he was the very best!
He was a talented musician, a gifted teacher, and a true gentleman. He was an influence to many generations of asipiring musicians. Not only was he my horn instructor, but he was also the band director for my aunt many years before at Jackson Junior High. We have lost a great man and really a piece of living history
of music and bands in Oklahoma. I hope see you again someday, Dr. Lee!

Jennone Jones

July 7, 2017

I am sad to see about Dr. Lee but I will always remember him. I first met him at Capital Hill Senior High just before school was starting in 1957. I had to interview to enter the band (I had just been at school in Sulphur OK. and my Dad had to transfer back to OKC.) and Dr. Lee asked me what instrument I played. I had been playing a tenor sax but he didn't have one of them for me to use but he did put me on a baritone sax. Glad I could read bass cleft. He taught me more about music than anyone else had in my past. I will always remember the great year I had there with him as my teacher. I will miss his smile.

Peggy Kennedy-Brown

July 7, 2017

Mr Lee was my band director at CHHS from 1957 to 1960. I remember him as being so kind to us students who sometimes didn't deserve it. Since I wasn't too much of a player but rather a majorette. Saw him last at our 55 class reunion. So sorry for his family and close friends.