Cecil Calvin Lee
Cecil Calvin Lee was born December 15, 1914 (his mother’s birthday) to Chester Calvin Lee and Athella Osborn in the oldest Mormon settlement in Nevada (Panaca). He was the second of five children. Merrill, then dad, Leona, Arshal, and Theo.
World War I had begun about five months earlier, but the United States would not enter until about a year and a half later.
Not quite a year later, Henry Ford manufactured its 1 millionth Model T.
He grew up passing his time as any other boy would, doing the normal chores for the time period. Cutting Ice and storing it in the winter, then making ice deliveries in the summer for “Ice Boxes”. Haying and tending to animals and tending to gardens. Gardening would become a lifetime hobby. Dad loved eating fresh vegetables like cantaloupe and tomatoes from the garden. And even in his final years he wanted to have a garden.
One year he got very sick and missed an entire year of his early school years. This allow him to go through the rest of the school years in the same class as his younger sister, Leona.
The summer between his junior and senior years of school, his father was struck by lightning and died. His mother continued to live in Panaca for the next 49 years and raised her children.
Cecil had a talent for Basketball. And although he wasn’t the tallest player on the team, he could out jump everyone and became All State Basketball Center his senior year. But when it came to school graduation, he as well as a couple of his friends, missed the Lincoln County graduation exercise and entered the Civilian Conservation Core (CCC).
While in the CCC’s he would often come up missing. His home was right across the road from camp. He was known to go out the back door, while his mother was letting his commander in the front door.
Small town dances became the place to hang out, and he met and later married his wife, Elda Huntsman, in May 1935 and later as many did during that era, went to the temple and were sealed. The first of five children was born a year later. The same year that Boulder Dam (now Hoover Dam) began operation and the following year Charlie Chaplin released his first talkie.
In 1942 he moved his family, (wife and two children) to California for a year. The last company he worked for, (U.S. Rubber) he repaired aircraft fuel tank liners for the war effort (World War II). Then back to Nevada where he was hired by the Railroad and ended up in Caliente and became a Fireman for the Railroad. A Fireman on the Railroad was the person that made sure the boiler on the engine maintained the proper steam pressure to operate.
On one of his rotations, he was at the Long Beach Terminal when his co-worker got him to look out the window and he saw the Spruce Goose, a huge wooden airplane made and flown by Howard Hughes, made its historic one and only flight of about one mile at an altitude of 70 feet.
About a year after his last child was born Cecil moved his family to Salt Lake City in 1955. It was to be a short stop over on their way to Seattle, but only moved to Bountiful and stayed there until the last of his children were married in the Temple. Then moved to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
When he first moved there, the closest Temple was the Cardston Alberta Canada Temple and he and Elda made trips with the ward to do temple work. Then after the Seattle Temple was completed, they were able to work there for a week a month for about four years.
After moving back to Panaca in 1987, he decided to beautify the family plot in the town cemetery. He started by cleaning up the tumbleweeds and debris and laid sod. Before long, he and with the help of a few others had cleaned up the entire cemetery. It wasn’t long before he knew everything about the cemetery and became the “go to” person when dealing with anything about the cemetery. It now has sod throughout and an automated irrigation system.
After mom passed, he was talking to Genevieve Dally, who drove a Mercury Sable. He told her that he could marry someone who owned a Sable. They were married (date) and quickly became Grandpa to a large and wonderful family. Gene was the only grandma my youngest daughter ever knew. And dad was the only grandpa most on Gene’s grandchildren knew. Gene and Dad were good for each other. Together they traveled and spent time with each of the families, from Texas to Idaho.
After the death of Genevieve, and only with the insistence of his children, he left his home in Panaca and lived with his children where they are privileged to enjoy his wit and knowledge.
Dad was preceded in death by his father and mother and his two brothers and two sisters, as well as both Elda and Genevieve.