American Veteran 04

Roy Thomas Lee

September 14, 1948 ~ September 28, 2021 (age 73)

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Roy T. Lee, 73, of Thousand Oaks, California passed away Tuesday, September 28, 2021. He was at home, under the loving care of his family, after bravely battling cancer for more than two years. Always one for surprises, he was born to Roosevelt and Mollie (Webb) Lee in the driveway of the U.S. Naval Hospital just outside of Memphis, TN on September 14, 1948. Right from the get-go, he stuck to his convictions and this would be the first time he adhered to his oft-repeated phrase: “10 minutes early is on time, on time is late and late is unacceptable.”  Born third of six children, he grew up in Chicago and graduated from Tilden Technical High School in 1966.  After high school he attended University of Illinois where he was proud to be part of the Pi Psi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi.  In 1969, he enlisted in the Naval Reserve and reported for active duty in May of 1973.The Navy allowed Roy to travel extensively and a 24-year career saw him working on all 7 continents. As he got older, he shared more of his stories, always referring to himself as “an old sailor.” He frequently joked that he’d fallen off of bar stools in some of the world’s finest establishments. But the deployment that would have the biggest impact on his life was his time in Antarctica.

During his first deployment to McMurdo Station in Antarctica, he was able to take leave in Christchurch, New Zealand, an opportunity that would change his life forever. On October 6, 1975 he saw, in his own words, “Halfway across the world the most perfect afro I had ever seen and then I saw the deepest darkest brown eyes and I knew I had to talk to her.” The two hit it off and Roy, always the romantic, would recount stories of being on the deck of the ship, singing The Temptations’ “Mary Ann” at the top of his lungs into the dark, cold, Pacific night - facing the direction of his “lady love.”  Roy and Beverley married in 1978 and embarked on a life together. He kept the telegram from her accepting his proposal on his desk for more than 40 years. Even at the very end, he could still be seen trying to pinch her bum when she wasn’t looking as he was still enamored with her. Soon after marrying, they had a baby, a boy named Karl and four and half years later, a girl named Kira. His children both agree that growing up with him as a Father was a life of both order and fun, music and love, history lessons and current events. He will be missed beyond measure.

He is survived by his loving wife of 43 years, Beverley of Thousand Oaks, son Karl of Los Angeles, daughter Kira (Daniel) Kim of Lynn, MA, sisters Kim and Beatrice both of Fort Worth, Texas and grandchildren; Soren, Anouk, Helena, Niles and Evelyn. He was predeceased by his parents Roosevelt and Mollie and his brothers Roosevelt, Terry and Michael.  A private ceremony will be held and Roy will be interred at the National Cemetery in Los Angeles with full military honors.  In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you instead take time today to call or visit a family member or friend and catch up because it all goes by so fast.

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