Charles Watterson Lee, dearly loved husband, father, grandfather, brother, son and stalwart of the Watterson community departed for his heavenly home on October 11, 2020. He was born June 15, 1937 in Watterson, Texas. He lived his life first and foremost as a faithful servant of the Lord. He is survived by his wife, Gearldine Buckner Lee, celebrating 59 years of marriage together; four children, Jeanette Cowan, wife of Raymond Cowan of Watterson, Darlene Louk, wife of Jeffery Louk of Lockhart, Verlin Lee, husband of Susan Lee of Watterson, and Victoria Fisher, wife of Jason Fisher of Watterson. He is also survived by two sisters, Glen Rose Venable and Lorene Cowan, numerous nieces and nephews and 9 grandchildren: Raymond Lee and Annmarie Cowan of Watterson, Lauren and Jacob Louk of Lockhart, Matthew McNabb and Kai and Bodie Fisher of Watterson, and Hanna and Isaac Lee of Watterson. Charles is the son of the late Ernest Watterson Lee and Veda Nite Lee of Watterson.
He truly lived out his belief in Faith, Family and Country, as a Deacon and leader at Taylorsville Church for many decades, a father to four children and grandfather to nine, and proudly serving in the National Guard for 12 years. He met the love of his life at a church youth rally, and married Gearldine Buckner in December, 1961, at Taylorsville Assembly of God Church. Together they served in this church from the beginning of their marriage to today. They shared 59 years of marriage together and were blessed to enjoy retirement together at their family home.
He made a career as a farmer rancher in the Bastrop County area, heeding the call of family first, when he managed the Lee Farm for his father after his high school graduation; and he purchased his own acreage near his family’s land on Watterson Road. He worked at weekly Livestock Auctions in Austin and Lockhart for many years, while also farming and ranching his own and his father’s acreage. As their children grew up, their home was the gathering place in the community for their kids and kids’ friends, as well as their nieces and nephews that would come stay summers in the country with Uncle Charles.
In 1991, Charles and Gearldine opened a home childcare in Watterson, the fulfillment of a vision given to them early in their marriage, to utilize their home and acreage in a way that would serve others. It flourished for 26 years as a fully licensed and accredited childcare until their retirement in 2017. As is true for the life of a farmer/rancher, Charles lived out his faith in every aspect of his life, sharing his victories and triumphs with his lifetime partner and living out their lives prayerfully and honorably before God. Neighbors have said of the Lees, you can set your watch by the Lee’s car passing on the road, headed to church for Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday night services. His children remember so many times being late to church, however, always stopping to put someone’s cattle back in their field and fixing a fence, as that was another families’ livelihood. Those lessons are still held firmly by every member of the Lee family, going out of your way to help another person with an “ox in the ditch”. He was a leader and mentor to young men in the church through Royal Rangers, a mentorship group for boys and teens, as well as mentoring other young men in the Watterson community, by just taking an interest in them and sharing his love of the land.
Before the days of seatbelts, Charles and Gearldine would regularly fit 8 or more kids in the backseat of an Oldsmobile Delta 88, taking their kids and their kids’ friends to Sunday school and church, later upgrading to a camper shell for their pickup. He custom made wooden benches for the bed of the truck to take kids to Vacation Bible School at Taylorsville Church.
At the childcare, he was known as the beloved Mr. Charles, where a day at the Lee’s might include bottle feeding an ophaned calf, or pushing hay off the tailgate for the cows with the big kids at the childcare. His grandkids remember fighting over who got to be pushed by Mr. Charles at the swingset, as Mr. Charles always gave the best pushes when he came home for lunch.
Charles had a heart bypass operation when he was 64, and was sidelined from farming for several months; during this time two of his nephews plowed his fields, and his children and neighbors helped feed cows, manage the farm and do countless other things to help the Lees. His life called out this kind of love and respect in people, and he felt so blessed by his friends and neighbors in the Watterson community and Bastrop County.
His children’s achievements ranged from college degrees, a master’s degree, and a US Marine, but what he was most proud of is that his children loved the Lord. It is said by Maya Angelou that
“everyone born comes from the Creator trailing wisps of glory”……
Charles Lee left those wisps here on earth in his beautiful wife, in his four children, in his nine grandchildren, in all the graduates of Joyful Sounds childcare, and in the lives of so many other people. He was known as honey, dad, daddy, grandpa, Papa, Mr. Charles and Mr. Lee, and will be so very deeply missed on this earth!
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