(Apr. 13, 2006)
Lee Jones Wardell, 71, died suddenly on Thursday, April 13.
He was born Jan. 7, 1935, to Linnie Dalley Jones and Albert Dalton Wardell in Lovell. Lee attended elementary school where he grew up in Otto. He finished his education in Greybull, graduating in 1953. He excelled in athletics, especially basketball. He shared many stories of his “glory days” with his family.
He married Carolyn Scholes, and two sons were born to this union. The couple later divorced.
Lee then met and married Jean Harston on June 26, 1958. He adopted the daughter she brought with her. Together they made their home in Lovell, where they raised their six children in the “house that beer built.”
He came from a long line of brick masons and was taught the trade by his father at a very young age, carrying hod in his adolescence and laying brick before he graduated from high school. Lee was well known for his natural talent and shared his skill and knowledge with his sons and many others. Lee practiced his trade with the Billings Local Union and was recently recognized for 50 years of service. He was the proud recipient of the prestigious Local #3 Union gold card. His life’s work took him all over the western United States, concentrated mainly in Montana and Wyoming. Jobs he was especially proud of were the Masonic Lodge and the Stockman Banks in Billings.
Lee was an avid outdoorsman. The only vacation he took yearly was to go elk hunting. He was affectionately known as “Silvertip” to many. His love and respect of the mountain and extensive knowledge of the Black Butte area were well known. His tales of the hunt were told around the campfire and will be retold for generations. When it wasn’t hunting season, Lee could be seen with his fishing pole in hand and grandchildren in tow headed to his favorite fishing hole. His other love was gardening, a legacy he passed on to his sons.
One of Lee’s greatest joys in life were his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He enjoyed sharing his love of the outdoors with them; all will greatly miss their Grandpa.
Lee was preceded in death by his parents; step-mother, Anna; his father and mother-in-law, James and Opal Harston; and brothers Preston and Callis.
Lee is survived by his wife, Jean; children, Mel (Shawna) Wardell of Idaho Falls, Idaho, Lynn (Steve) Lundberg, Mark Wardell, and Jeff (Karen) Wardell all of Lovell, Bryan (Cheryl) Wardell of Laurel, Mont.,Janice (Scott) Davis of Eugene, Ore., and David Collingwood of Greybull; two brothers, Albert J. (Phern) Wardell and Mack (Bonnie) Wardell; three sisters, Merla (Reanous) Henderson, Irma (Melvin) Neves, and Joan (Bruce) Butler; 20 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren with two more due to arrive in 2006.
Services were held Tuesday, April 18 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Lovell. Interment followed at the Cowley Cemetery.