Horace Byron Lee -
Byron Lee went to be with his Lord on Easter night after
spending the month at Ocean Trail Healthcare and
Rehabilitation Center in Southport NC. Mr. Lee was
preceded in death by his parents, Charles H. Lee and
Edna Lee, brothers Fletcher and Charles “Chick” Lee, son
Gary B. Lee and wife, Jean B. Merrit.
H.B. Lee was born
in Dallas, Texas, Dec. 3, 1916 and was the third son of
Charles and Edna Lee. The family moved to Hollywood,
California when he was young and he attended grade
school there and played basketball at Hollywood High
School. H. B. “Bebe” then attended Stanford University,
graduating in 1938. He played on the Varsity Basketball
Team that won three consecutive Pacific Coast Conference
Championships and in his senior year was elected Student
Bebe was appointed Assistant Coach at Stanford. Three
years later he was hired as Head Basketball Coach at
Utah State University, at age 24 being the youngest Head
Coach in the country at a major University. Then he
spent four years during WW II as a Naval Intelligence
before returning to Utah State.
In 1950 he was appointed Head Basketball Coach at the
University of Colorado. During his six years there his
teams won two Big Seven Conference Championships and, in
1955, advanced to the NCAA Final Four where his team
beat the University of Iowa and lost to national
champion San Francisco University.
In 1956 Bebe left coaching to assume duties as Athletic
Director at Kansas State University, a position he held
for 13 years. While there, he served on the NCAA
Executive Committee, chaired the NCAA Basketball
Tournament Committee, served as President of the
Fellowship of Christian Athletes, acted as Senior Warden
of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Manhattan, Kansas and
chaired the Athletic Commission for the State of Kansas.
He left Kansas State in 1969 to accept the position of
Vice President of Hughes Sports Television Network in
New York City until his retirement. During his
retirement he lived in Albuquerque, NM; Houston, TX with
his wife Jean Bell Merrit whom he married in 1980.
Following his wife’s death in 2009, H. B. moved to
Southport NC to be near his daughter, Vicki and
son-in-law Karl Farris. He also lived in Wilmington for
a time after his daughter, Barbara Lee, moved to
Mr. Lee is survived by his daughter, Vicki Farris and
husband Karl of Southport, daughter Barbara Lee, step
daughter Jeanne Johnston of Houston, Tx and step son
Robin Merrit of Raleigh, grandsons Stuart L. Farris of
Fort Bragg, Paul F. Farris of Raleigh, five great
grandchildren(Evan, Luke, Ian Farris and Julia and
Joshua Farris ), nieces Cathy Lasky and Betsy Lee of San
Francisco area and nephew Bob Lee of Manton CA.
A family memorial service is being planned.
Memorial contributions may be made to Fellowship of
Christian Athletes: HQ’s FCA 8701 Leeds Rd. Kansas City
& White Funeral and Cremation Service, Southport