Edward Kauawaiakea Lee Jr.
July 29, 1939 – October 10, 2020
After a three-year battle with bone cancer, Edward Kauawaiakea Lee, Jr., known as “Sookie,” age 81, died in his home on October 10, 2020 at 21:12.
Mr. Lee is survived by his wife, Corinne, and two children: Toni (and Greg) McCreash and Ted (Edward K. Lee, III) (and Nancy) Lee, and four loving grandchildren including Dustin Lee, Megan Lee, Morgandy McCreash, and Hayden McCreash. Also, mourning his passing are his sisters: Betty Keohokalole, Kehau (and Glynn) Jackson, and Barbara Jesson, brother-in-law, Brent (and Lori) Blumenstock, nephews Kelii (and Julie) Keohokalole, Kaua (and Rose) Baijo, Fred (and Jill) Blumenstock, Dan Blumenstock, and niece, Valerie (and Todd) Blumenstock, grand-niece Laura Keohokalole, grand-nephews Pohai Baijo, Kamakanapomaikai Baijo and grand-niece Lyla Baijo.
Mr. Lee was the son of Edward Kauawaiakea Lee, Sr. and Mae Werner. He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, July 29, 1939. On December 7, 1941, at the age of two, he witnessed Pearl Harbor’s bombing by the Empire of Japan and never forgot the memories.
Mr. Lee devoted his life to his country by entering the U.S. Air Force in 1957 and retiring in 1979. Having served 22 years, 1 month, and 1 day, he ended his military career with the rank of Master Sergeant at Langley AFB. Among the stellar accounts of his leadership, ability and excellent military bearing are five significant events in his military career. The first one took place when he met his wife in Topeka, Kansas, and married her in 1965. The second and third occurred with the birth of his children. The fourth transpired in early 1969 at Spangdahlem Air Base. An F-102 Delta Dart lost its DC power and radar contact with the control tower. TSgt. Lee, then a Control Tower Supervisor with the 2137th Communications Squadron, cleared the tower. TSgt. Lee directed the pilot to descend to a safe altitude so TSgt. Lee could have “eyes” on the plane. He gave the pilot life-saving instructions for landing safely, saving the pilot and the plane. TSgt. Lee was credited with a “save” worth $1,193,995 in 1969 dollars. He received exemplary service citations from a Colonel, Brigadier General, and a Major General. The fifth event happened during the Vietnam War while stationed with the 1878 Communications Squadron at Pleiku Airport in the Republic of Vietnam. Mr. Lee was responsible, as the Control Tower Crew Chief, for the overall operations of the Control Tower. One night, Viet Cong attackers gained access to the base through a hole in the perimeter fence and ended up damaging flight-line installations including the control tower. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured. Mr. Lee had switched his duty with someone else that evening and was not present at the time of the attack. Mr. Lee spent a majority of his military career dedicated to training others. He spent personal time and monetary resources to produce quality presentations and training materials that reflected highly of his abilities.
After serving, he entered Old Dominion University, receiving a Bachelor’s of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology. While there, his daughter encouraged him to take Archaeology courses under Professor King Reid and Floyd Painter. This “course” lasted six years of weekends in the Moyock, NC and Great Neck, VA regions. Mr. Lee worked as an Engineering Technician finishing in Information Security for Newport News Shipbuilding, Tenneco, and Northrup Grumman retiring for the second time after 22 total years.
Mr. Lee’s post-retirement activities included designing and building many furniture pieces for his family, drawing illustrations, attending Orion Hunter Fastpitch softball games, taking pictures of the players, and printing variable-sized prints for the girls. His last trip overseas was to Peru, supporting a medical mission. He played the ukulele, often singing his cousin, Kui Lee’s, hit songs, “I’ll Remember You” and “One Paddle, Two Paddle.” Being from a family of entertainers, he sang often even through his suffering. He will be fondly remembered for his Huli Huli chicken recipe passed on to the owners of the Blackwater BBQ food truck, who are eternally grateful for that gift. He loved and enjoyed being around his grandchildren and they will miss him.
Rosewood-Kellum Funeral Home at 601 N. Witchduck Road is taking care of the remains. Due to COVID restrictions, a Celebration of Life will be postponed. Mr. Lee’s family will inter him into National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (aka Punchbowl) in Hawaii, in the future.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the following: 1) the Disabled American Veterans, 2) the National Cancer Institute, 3) the Air Force Aid Society, or 4) Orion Hunter Elite Fastpitch softball.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Edward Kauawaiakea Lee Jr.
October 15, 2020
Corinne........ Jerry and I are so sorry to hear of your loss. We can only imagine what it must be like to lose a partner. Especially a loving husband of 55 years. Yes, we remember your wedding clearly . Just a few months after our special day. We pray that God will ease your dreadful pain; that you and your family are going through. ❤🙏❤
Richard and Tina de Paulo
October 15, 2020
Corrine, Toni, and Ted - our heartfelt condolences go out to your family. What an exemplary individual Ed was. We know that all who were privileged to have known him, including us, will miss him dearly.
-Richard and Tina de Paulo
October 15, 2020
My heart goes out to Mr. Lee's family. While working for him and his wife this summer, I only "met" him twice. However, he was a nice man who I feel I knew better from his stories that were told to me. Rest in peace, Mr. Lee, and I'll keep your family in my prayers.