On October 21st, 1933, James Morgan Lee was born in Safford Arizona to Franklin Lafayette Lee and Sarah Evaline Benskin Lee. James was the 4th of 11 children. The family moved often, finally settling in Farmington, NM when Morgan was 7 years old and in the 2nd grade. He graduated from Farmington High School in the class of 1951.
Following graduation in 1951, James began his college career at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT. While attending college, he enlisted in the Army on February 17th, 1954. James ended up serving in the artillery and eventually serving in Germany during the Korean war.
After being honorably discharged from the Army on December 13th, 1955, James returned to BYU and met Sally Ann Arnold. However before graduating James decided to go on a mission for the LDS church. After being overseas for the Army, James was able to serve his mission close to home on the Navajo Indian reservation where he learned to speak Navajo fluently.
During his mission Sally and James would continue their courtship mainly through letters. Upon completing his LDS mission, James Married Sally on February 19th, 1958, at the Los Angeles, CA LDS Temple. They had four children, Michael James Lee, Lisa Marie Lee-Tschanz, Karen Yvonne Lee, and Deborah Lynn Lee Williams. James finished his studies and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Relationships in 1959.
In 1961 James worked as a teacher in a one room schoolhouse for grades first through eighth in Lybrook, NM. After teaching for 1 year, James decided to become a trader at the Red Rock Trading Post in Shiprock NM. During this time James went back to school and earned his Masters of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from Eastern New Mexico University in 1963. Also in 1963, James taught first grade for one semester at Denehotso Boarding School in Denehotso, AZ. After teaching, James got a job as a Health Education Specialist with Kayenta Public Health Clinic in Keyenta, AZ. James remained in this role until 1966 when he began working as a School Psychologist for the Office of Navajo Economic Opportunity in Ft. Defiance, AZ until 1968. From 1968 to 1969 James worked for the State of New Mexico as a Case Worker for Health and Social Services. In the middle of 1969, James started working as a Juvenile Probation Officer for San Juan County. He remained a Probation Officer until 1974.
In 1980 James married Farrelyn Elaine Mankin on September 12th. They had two sons, Joshua James Lee and Mankin Jacob Lee.
At the end of 1991 through 1998 James entered the workforce a final time as a Guidance Counselor at Dzilth Na O Dith Hle then transitioning to Naaba Abi Elementary school in Bloomfield NM.
In 1998 James returned to working the farm for as long as he was physically able.
James is preceded in death by his parents, brother Maurice Lee, and sisters Fayetta Lee, Lavean Clayton, Claudeen Marin, and first wife Sally Ann Arnold Lee. James is survived by his wife Farrelyn Elaine Lee, Sons; Michael James Lee, Joshua James Lee and Mankin (Jessica) Lee, daughters; Lisa Marie Lee-Tschanz, Karen Yvonne Lee, and Deborah Lynn Lee Williams. He is also survived by 17 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.
James Lee passed away March 18, 2023. His Memorial Service will take place at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Bloomfield, NM on Friday March 24, 2023 at 5:00 PM.
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