Lee Ivory Haynes-Lee was born September 13, 1947 in Mer Rouge, Louisiana to her loving parents, Husie Blackman and Clauzella Haynes-Taylor /Edwards.
Lee was adopted by her great-uncle and aunt, Mr. Leonard and Mrs. Viola Mason, at the tender age of one. Lee accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as her personal Savior at an early age under the pastoral leadership of Rev. S. J. Scott of Cherry Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Mer Rouge, LA. Lee loved to praise the Lord!!! She worked with missions and Bible study groups. Lee maintained that zeal for service, good works, and the study of scriptures throughout her life.
Lee was formally educated in Mer Rouge Louisiana Public School, where she excelled academically. Lee was a proud graduate and alumni of Grambling State University, (a legendary historically black college and university). Lee graduated with honors, pledged Zeta Phi Beta, all while majoring in Home Economics and Science Education.
After college, Lee resided in St. Louis, Missouri where she married Drafton Lee. The couple separated and Lee relocated to Joliet, IL with her uncle and aunt, John and Arlena Miller and family.
Lee immediately united with Second Baptist Church, where she continued to use her spiritual gifts and talents. She led and/or facilitated in many ministries. Lee served faithfully and joyfully.
Lee was an educator/teacher of the Joliet Public School District #86 for 34 years. She taught at Washington Junior High School, and at Dirksen Elementary School until she retired. As a teacher, Lee earned many honors and certificates of appreciation for her dedicated service to the district. She was a coach for the girls’ and boys’ basketball teams at Dirksen. It was known that Lee referred to her former students as “friends”.
After Lee’s retirement, she continued to enjoy life by taking active leadership positions and many ministry roles within the church. This included: Vacation Bible School, Women’s Fellowship, the Blessing Table, and the Food Pantry Ministry. Lee’s contribution to the community included; The National Hook-Up of Black Women, Prayer Warriors, and volunteer Ushers at the Rialto Theatre. Lee also enjoyed, attending adult Sunday School classes, sewing for her friends and family for special events, and traveling extensively.
Lee, affectionately known to family and close friends as “Tee-Tee” or “Tee”, leaves to cherish her memories; her enduring and loving sons, Efrem Lee (who preceded her in death), Jonathan O. Ward Sr. (Jomicka and family) of Louisville, KY; her only devoted grandson, Jonathan O. Ward Jr. (Mary Williams and family)of Kankakee, IL; her significant other, John Lee Ward, Sr. and family of Grenada, MS; siblings, Scottie Mae Haynes, Mary Haynes, Cammie Taylor, Husie Blackman, Billy Taylor (Melinda), Herbert Taylor (Linda), Leonard Blackman (Jackie), Ralph Taylor (Linda), and Veronica Haynes; special cousins, Linda Miller Sease, Calvin Miller (Cathy), Larry Miller, John Miller, and LaKeisha Adams; special aunt, Ophelia Covington; aunt, Amy Hollins (who has preceded her in death)(Fred ) of Bastrop, Louisiana; aunt, Jean Bradley of Dallas, TX; goddaughters, Rochelle Clash, Ciara Christmas, Starkeshia Neal; devoted friends, Lea Daniels-Moore, Francine Stevens, Beverly Jackson, and Mr. Edward and Mrs. Janice Wood; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
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