Lee was born Jan. 5, 1927 in midwife Grandma Dugger’s little white house next to the water tower in Powell. He was the eighth child born to Retta Helen Dunavan Gillett and H. E. Gillett.
The family moved to an East Willwood homestead in the spring of 1930. Lee attended Powell schools, as did sisters Nellemay Blevins and Katie Wigham. Football was his interest. Under the able leadership of Keith Bloom and Bill Roney and a wonderful man, Louis Kohnke who coached them, the Powell High School football team claimed the state championship in 1943. They didn’t get to play off with Cheyenne because of fuel rationing. The team minus two or three 1943 members beat Cheyenne in 1944.
After the 1943 football season Lee joined the U.S. Navy. After finishing diver training school he went to sea on an ocean-going fleet tug. He served 15 months in the Northern Pacific theater. Lee later served four months on a patrol craft in the Seattle area. He had some limited diving experience and was a sonar operator. He was honorably discharged in May 1946.
On June 13, 1946 he was united in holy matrimony with Carolyn Louise Smith. They were married in Billings at a Presbyterian Manse by a Presbyterian minister. Carolyn was a Cody girl but was transplanted to Peru, Ind., for her high school years. Her mother wanted the girls to get acquainted with their aging grandparents. This union lasted 64 years. It was cut short by Carolyn’s death in July 2010.
Lee is survived by son George (Joan) Gillett; daughter Gail (Jeff) White; granddaughters Stephanie (Jim) Eisenhauer and Teresa (Tim) Howard; grandsons Jesse (Christina) White and Zack White; and eight great-grandchildren; and sisters Nell and Katie and many nephews and nieces.
He was preceded in death by his 3-year-old daughter, Lee Ann, wife Carolyn and six brothers.
A memorial service will be held at the Presbyterian church in Powell at 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 31, followed by interment of cremains with honor at Crown Hill Cemetery.
Memorial donations in Lee’s name can be made to the Powell Medical Foundation.