In Our Memories: Lee Zion

Old Books

Lee Zion
Colorado Genealogical Web CC: 1996 - 2008

Lee Zion was one of the original members of the Colorado Genealogical Web. He coordinated various counties and several different special projects from time to time. He also volunteered in the U.S. Genealogical Web. Lee was always willing and able to lend a hand where ever needed, whether it was helping a new coordinator or taking over from someone who needed to leave the project for one reason or another.

Lee Charles Zion was born on September 11, 1946 in the Wray Hospital. He was the first born child of Elbert and LuJean Zion. He departed this life on June 22, 2008 at the young age of 61 years, 9 months and 11 days.

Lee grew up in the Vernon community, where he attended school until the High School in Vernon was closed. He graduated from the Wray High School in 1964. Because of his height, he was a part of the Wray Basketball Team. He was, however not any good. This was a source of consolation to his youngest un-athletic but tall daughter when she was stuck playing basketball.

Lee loved reading, hunting, fishing and building things with his hands. He played golf and was a train collector. He dreamed of being a mechanical engineer. After High School, Lee was accepted into the Colorado School of Mines. He helped pay his way by coming home every year and helping with custom harvesting. while in Colorado Springs, he often stayed with his cousin, Julie and her parents, and they developed a closeness that has lasted through till this day.

Before Lee was able to graduate college, after he had completed 3 years, the Vietnam War took center stage in his life. He was notified that he was the next in line to be drafted. Being pragmatic, he enlisted. In this way, he could choose the schooling he wanted.

He attended basic training in Fort Bliss, Texas. After training and attending Army Signal School at Fort Monmouth, NJ, he married Linda Wakefield, also a native of Wray, on December 27, 1968 at the Methodist church in Wray. They knew each other from high school, but did not start dating until his college years. Their romance began when he gave her a ride home one weekend from Denver where she was living, after she was involved in an accident which disabled her car.

After Lee and Linda married, he went to Vietnam, where he received the bronze star. After his tour of duty ended, he and Linda continued with their military and domestic life. They moved frequently, first to Ft. Huachuca, AZ, where they celebrated the birth of their first daughter, Michelle Lee. Next stop on this ride was Turkey, then North Dakota, where their second daughter, Mary Katherine, was born.

Their children and they continued back to Arizona, then Bad Kreuznach, Germany. Then to Ft. Gordon, GA, Worms, Germany, and finally Ft. Monmouth, NJ. 27 years, 2 months, and 29 days after beginning his call of duty, he completed it where it began.

In his long service to his country, Lee acquired many honors. He retired with the rank of Sergeant Major, and received the Legion of Merit in addition to the Bronze Star, Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal three times, and the Good Conduct Medal nine times and others too numerous to mention.

After being notified by the Army of his impending promotion, he received the Scabbard as an unofficial honor from the Sergeants Major Association in Worms, Germany. While at Ft. Monmouth he belonged to the Senior NCO Association and they carried out one major project a year. They had a Christmas party for 300 - 500 young children a year. They were given lunch and a gift from Mr. or Mrs. Santa Claus.

Following his retirement, he returned to Vernon. He spent his retirement years spoiling his grandchildren, Hannah and Jenna Gelvin, and initially helping his mother working with the Colorado Genealogy Society and the Yuma County Historical Society. He then later took over what she had started himself. He initially answered queries from people away from here looking for information on their families. Having been an avid computer fan all his adult life, he was happy at home, writing programs and building and maintaining web sites to include the Colorado Gen Web and The Gold Star veterans site.

Preceding Lee in death by only a few months was Elbert Zion, his father, and LuJean Zion, his mother. Surviving Lee is his wife of 39 years, Linda, his two daughters, Michelle and Mary, his sons-in-law, Dennis Davis and Jeffrey Gelvin and two granddaughters, Hannah and Jenna Gelvin. Also mourning Lee is his two brothers, John and J. Paul, his sister, Joyce, their spouses and children, his mother-in-law, Lela Wakefield, sister-in-law, Karla and husband, and numerous uncles, aunts, cousins and nieces, and nephews and their families.

Funeral services were held on Thursday, June 26, 2008, 10:00 a.m. at the First Christian Church in Wray, with Rev. Bernerd Buchanan officiating. Interment was in the Grandview Cemetery in Wray, Colorado. Memorials may be made to the Wray Museum and Wray Veterans Association. Spellman-Schmidt Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.