Brown-Wynne Funeral Home & Crematory

300 Saint Mary's Street, Raleigh, NC


Joseph Ira Lee Jr.

December 24, 1927August 27, 2019

Joseph Ira Lee, Jr. passed away on Tuesday, August 27 at his home surrounded by his loving wife and family. Joe was born December 24, 1927 to parents Rosalie Rogers Lee and Joseph Ira Lee, Sr., in Smithfield, NC.

In 1949, he married the love of his life, Hannah Ruth Johnson and most recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. Affectionately known to all as “Joe” , he possessed a larger than life personality and gracious humble spirit. He deeply loved his family and friends as well as his beloved pet parrot “Poncho”. Joe never met a stranger and quickly found favor with the many people he encountered from all walks of life sharing his kindness and generosity. Joe loved a good laugh, great card game, and racquetball.

When Johnson's Jewelers was located downtown at 309 Fayetteville St. Mall, Joe Lee was always with his beloved parrot, Poncho - who would draw a crowd with his amazing ability to sing and whistle at all the pretty ladies, while he was perched in a tree.

Many rounds of golf were played at Raleigh Country Club and Bald Head Island. Joe and Ruth dearly loved Bald Head and shared many wonderful years and memories in this very special place. His fondness of travel lead him on many adventures from road trips to traveling the world with his adored wife Ruth and dear friends. He enjoyed discovering deep sea treasures off the coast of Florida and the Dominican Republic. Joe truly was an “adventure” seeking investor!

Graduating in 1948 from UNC - Chapel Hill, he later became one of downtown Raleigh’s premier jewelers. He earned his GIA Certified Gemologist Degree in 1954 and was President of Johnson’s Jewelers of Raleigh.

He was preceded in death by his parents, and sisters: Margaret Rose Lee, Mary Jean Johnson and Janice Norris.

Left to cherish his memory are: Hannah Ruth Johnson Lee, wife of 70 years; his two children, Ruth Lee Hudgins (Dan) and Joseph Ira Lee III (Kim); siblings, Ann Hines Lassiter, Barbara Meyer, James Wesley Lee (Catherine); grandchildren, Joseph Ira Lee IV (Heather), Ashley Morgan Woodruff, Hannah Catherine Lee, Ryan Lee Hudgins, Eric Daniel Hudgins (Justine), Kirk William Hudgins; great grandchildren, Ashlyn Lee, Harper Reymond, Audrey Lyn Hudgins, and Leo Daniel Hudgins.

With love and appreciation the family would like to extend sincere thanks to: Veronica, Mary, James, Esther, Philomena and Lucy for their compassionate care.

A memorial service to celebrate Joe's life will be held Friday, August 30, 2019 at 1:00 pm at Edenton Street United Methodist Church. Visitation will follow the service in Kerr Hall, at Edenton Street. Burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate your remembering Joe by sharing love, kindness, and all good deeds to those you encounter everyday; or memorial donations may be made to Edenton Street United Methodist Church, 228 West Edenton St. Raleigh, NC 27603, or to the charity of your choice.

Arrangements by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 Saint Mary's St., Raleigh, NC, (919) 828-4311.


  • The family would appreciate your remembering Joe by sharing love, kindness, and all good deeds to those you encounter everyday.
  • Edenton Street United Methodist Church



  • Celebration of Joe's Life Friday, August 30, 2019
  • Visitation to follow the service in Kerr Hall Friday, August 30, 2019


  • Burial will be Private


Joseph Ira Lee Jr.

have a memory or condolence to add?

David and Jeanne Smoot

August 30, 2019

Joe Lee was a one of a kind and a well known and admired Raleigh businessman. He represented his city and the business community well. He offered knowledge, personal service and always a friendly smile to all those who entered Johnson's Jewelers.
Sincere condolences to his family. We regret that commitments we could not break prevented our expressing these condolences in person.
David and Jeanne Smoot
Wake Forest

Ricky Parker

August 30, 2019

Sorry for your loss he was a cool dude

John and Susan Wester

August 29, 2019

Mrs. Lee, we are thinking of you and all your family during this time.

Luther & Joyce Green

August 28, 2019

We have lost a good man and a great friend! Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this time of sorrow.