Photo submitted by the Lee family. Cica 1954. Clockwise beginning at top left are Buck, Doris, Mike, Jimmy, Steve and Glen.
Buck Lee family receives Farm Family of the Year award
by Kathryn Stamy, Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce intern
A family owned and operated farm can produce a number of goods including a strong family.
“If I were describing the all-American farm family, it would be the James 'Buck' Lee family of Nacogdoches County,” Nolan Alders, Sr., close family friend, said.“Buck and his wife Doris raised four sons who emulated the qualities of their parents - that of patriotism, character, honesty and integrity.”
Sons Jimmy, William Glen, Steve and Mike have worked hard their entire lives towards the success of the family farm located east of Nacogdoches on C.R. 503 also known as Community Rd.
With only five years difference between oldest and youngest, the brothers grew up close, and the strong family bond is still evident today. The brothers' voices echoed throughout the room as they reminisced on growing up on the farm milking cows, getting into trouble and learning the importance of good work ethic from their father Buck.
“I wouldn’t be where I am if I didn’t have a good work ethic. Every job I ever had I got because I was willing to work,” eldest brother Jimmy explained.
Buck's father Frank Lee married Mary Wiley Roberts in 1914. The Lee family farm began with Mary's 17-acre inheritance and grew over time with Frank and later Buck purchasing adjoining tracts of land. Four generations of the Lee family have worked on the property, and now, the fifth generation is getting to know the land.
“I think our grandpa had a lot of influence on us,” Glen said. “He was always telling us how to treat people, how to do things right, respect other people. These were all things we remember that he told us, and of course Buck did too. But he had a big impact on my life, and the things he taught me I still try to teach my kids about the core values, yes ma’am, no ma’am, and how to respect other people.”
The brothers were brought up working at a young age, milking cows before and after school each day, and baling hay in the summer when their friends would be out playing in the sun. In their teenage years, the boys could participate in any after school sport or extra curricular activities they liked, with the understanding that the chores had to be done no matter what time they returned home.
“Grandpa wanted everybody to know how to drive the tractor before they started school,” Jimmy said as the brothers remembered mowing the pastures even before they entered the first grade. “I’ve got grandkids that I wouldn’t trust to use a tractor at nine years old,” Mike added, "but it was just expected of us.”
Although their father and grandfather were the ones teaching the boys the ins and outs of farm life, their mother, Doris, played a very important role in bringing up the boys as well.
“Mama was the one who kept everything running smoothly, and kept us under control, probably more than my dad did. She instilled a lot of the values we’ve got,” Glen said.
“She was a very hard worker, and when you worked at our place, Mama fed you,” Mike remembered.“When we eat, everybody eats, so she fed a lot of young men through the years.”
Mike and Steve are still farming today. Mike has been raising chickens for almost 38 years, and Steve is still running beef cattle production. Jimmy and Glen help out when needed while Buck still enjoys working on the farm at the age of 89. Buck continues to do a custom hay baling operation for neighbor farms as well as his own.
“I was trying to do some feeding for him this winter, because he’s been kind of under the weather,” Steve said about Buck. “But it kind of irritates him because that’s the one thing he looks forward to doing, getting out there and feeding the cattle.”
Buck and two of his sons, Jimmy and Steve, were in the U.S. Marine Corps. Buck served in World War II from 1943 to 1946. Jimmy and Steve both served in the Vietnam War, Jimmy from '66 to '70 and Steve from '69 to '71.
“The only other places I have been are California and Vietnam, and I didn’t want to live in either one of them,” Steve joked when asked about growing up in Nacogdoches.
Glen moved to Houston in 1975, but chose to take a pay cut to come back to Nacogdoches and still believes that was the best decision he has made. “It’s small enough where people know people, people are friendly and they’ve got the college for your kids to get an education. There are more pluses than minuses,” he said.
"The sons and their wives still live and work in Nacogdoches County," Alders said. "All are actively involved in some form of agriculture. As with most agriculturists, some also do other jobs as well, but agriculture has always played a prominent role in their lives."
The Farm Family of the Year award will be presented to the Lee Family at the 15th Annual Nacogdoches County Agriculture Appreciation and Awareness Banquet on Tuesday, April 7 at the Nacogdoches County Exposition & Civic Center. The award is sponsored by Tipton Ford, Inc. Contact the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce for tickets, 936-560-5533.
Lee Family Information
Mary Wiley Roberts and Frank Lee married in 1914 and established the family farm. They had five children:
Quinton Elwood (Buddy)
Elbert Franklin (Bill)
James Elton (Buck)
James (Buck) Lee was born on June 19, 1925 in Nacogdoches County. He is a former dairyman, now cattleman, and served Nacogdoches County as Veteran’s Service Officer until retirement. He served with the Marines in World War ll. Doris Robertson was born Sept. 7, 1926 and died Nov. 30, 2012. Buck and Doris Robertson were married on April 26, 1947 and had four children: James Franklin (Jimmy), William Glen (Glen), Stephen Ray (Steve), and Michael Gene (Mike).
Jimmy Lee was born on December 17, 1947. He is a retired firefighter for the City of Nacogdoches and served with the Marines in Vietnam. He married Pam Johnson on May 20, 1977 and they have one child: Melissa Jean.
Melissa married Dr. Brandon Richards and they have one child, Olivia Jean.
Glen Lee was born on January 24, 1949. He retired from RR Donnelly (formerly Moore Business Forms). He married Bonnie Mock on July 12, 1975 and they have three children: Jeffrey Glen, Amy Louise, and Casey Elton.
Jeff married Cassie Dupre and they have four children, Cadence Renee, Mason Glen, Savannah Grace and Landry Fae.
Amy has one child, Reagan Hughes.
Casey married Jana Bryan, and they have one child, Raylan Elton.
Steve Lee was born February 25, 1951. He is a former dairyman, now cattleman. He served with the Marines in Vietnam. He married Cindy Naquin on October 15, 1977 and they have three children: Stephen Mark, Michelle Marie, and Tammy Serena.
Mark married Hannah Fields, and they have one child, Stephen James.
Michelle married Travis Allbee, and they have two children, Miranda and Lauran.
Tammy married Chris Cummings, and they have three children, Jessica, Paul and Sarah.
Mike Lee was born on November 13, 1952. He is a poultry grower and cattleman. He married Brenda Collins on April 2, 1976 and they have two children: Jennifer Jill and Wendy Gwen.
Jennifer married Cory Howard, and they have two children, Allyson Jill and Logan Michael.