LEE DEVERNE SMITH, age 74, passed away peacefully of heart failure with his wife Jaquae by his side on February 22, 2013. A truly special and glorious day.
Lee was born on May 5, 1938 in Colfax, Illinois to the late L.D. Smith and Julia Elizabeth Wiley. He would later marry his first love, Jaquae, on August 23, 1958 and they enjoyed 53 years of marriage together. Their marriage was blessed with two children, Julia Smith Baker, husband Nardin, of Needham, MA, and Wayne D. Smith, wife Lynne, of Lakeland, FL. He is also survived by three grandchildren, Elizabeth Baker, Ali Smith, and Lee Smith. He was a wonderful and loving husband, father, and grandfather.
Lee was a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, College of Engineering. Following graduation, Lee spent 45 years operating family owned businesses, including Wayne Smith Operator, an oil and gas production company, Smith Drilling Company, Inc., a multi-state contract oil and gas drilling company, Smith Production Company, Inc. an oil and gas production company, and multiple family farming operations in the Midwest. He also helped start a successful specialty contract drilling business in Florida, Custom Drilling Services, Inc. Lee and Jaquae lived in Lawrenceville, IL for 35 years until his semi-retirement when they moved to Marathon, FL. Lee and Jaquae later relocated to Lakeland, FL in 2001.
Lee was a member of Chi Psi Fraternity, the B.P.O.E. Elks, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the National Rifle Association, and the University of Oklahoma Alumni Association.
As a multi-engine instrument rated pilot he and Jaquae took numerous trips in their aircraft. Most notable of which included a long, low level tour of Alaska in 2009 which he also completed with his son again in 2011.
After moving to Lakeland, Lee was appointed to be a member of the 10th Judicial Circuit Bar Grievance Committee and later became one of three Commissioners of the Lakeland Public Employee Relations Commission. Lee was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Lakeland.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine, 1021 Lakeland Hills Blvd, Lakeland, Florida 33805 or to the First Presbyterian Church of Lakeland, 175 Lake Hollingsworth Drive, Lakeland, Florida 33803.
Memorial Services will be held on Tuesday February 26, 2013 at 2:00 pm in the Chapel of the First Presbyterian Church. Arrangements made by Heath Funeral Burial will be in Wiley Cemetery, Colfax.