James Kenyard

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 1, 2009

James Kenyard (Ken) Lee, son of Evelyn S. Lee and the late James Vester Lee of McKenzie, died peacefully at his home at age 69 in Millbrook after a long and courageous battle with cancer Friday, April 24, 2009.
Ken was a true humanitarian and an environmentalist at heart, working for such causes as human rights, and a strong and safe environment. He was an endlessly curious and broadly educated man who loved demanding intellectual challenges. He studied at such diverse institutions as the University of Maryland, Alabama State and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. He had a strong sense of humor and greatly enjoyed life and people. He never met a stranger, and was kind, respectful, admiring and sociable with people regardless of their age and station in life. He was always willing to help and give to others in need.
At age 17, he was accepted into the Naval Academy at Annapolis, but decided to pursue his love of travel and writing. He became a journalist in the Navy and served as the admiral’s journalist on the USS Des Moines, the Flag Ship of the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. During his tour of duty, he interviewed President Eisnerhower and covered the first film festival in Cannes, France, meeting Grace Kelly and Sophia Loren.
His life and work were very diverse. He worked for the federal and state governments in Alabama, sponsored foreign visitors, organized and toured with a German soccer team throughout the southeast, was in the foreign car import business, active as a home builder and developer and set up the first energy fair in Montgomery.
His fondest memories were of his four-year presidential appointment as the representative of the Labor Department to travel to all the military stations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He published several books and magazines, including “McKenzie People” his favorite account of the history of the people he loved in his hometown.
One of his projects included building a pioneer village, with a covered bridge, grist mil, log cabin and chapel. The bridge, which he christened “Mother’s Bridge,” has been featured in a book, news articles and magazines. The prayer chapel in particular brought him great comfort and peace during his illness and remains a proud legacy to his beloved family and God. An avid reader, he cherished books on history, biography and nature. He joyfully tutored environmental students for many years. Most of all, he loved his family and the times he spent with them.
Ken was preceded in death by his beloved sister Jackie Casey. He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Brigitte Kilg Lee; daughter, Jo Maria (anders) ilndstrom; son, James anders Sean Lee (Ulrike); grandchildren MIria Lee and Fox Llindstrom; beloved mother, Evelyn Lee; sisters, Jerita Braun, Judy (Stevet) Stark and JoAnn (Jimmy) Lawrence, Janet (Frank) Lanier and Lena Lee; loving nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles and countless good friends. We love him and miss him but he will never be forgotten.
Visitation were held at Johnson Funeral Home in Georgiana from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at Johnson Funeral Home in Georgiana. Funeral services were at 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 29 at Sweet Home Baptist Church in McKenzie, followed by graveside services. A community memorial will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, May 2, 2009 at the Covered Bridge Chapel on Willow Tree Drive in Millbrook.
The family wishes to thank Dr. Steven Davidson and nurses Terri, Leslie, Donna and all the wonderful medical team at the Montgomery Cancer Center whom we all came to know and love in helping through this difficult journey. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Montgomery Cancer Center.

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