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James T. Scratch Lee

James T. "Scratch" Lee, 81, of Littlefield, Texas, passed away on Monday, Jan. 2, 2012, at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston, Texas, after a brief heart-related illness. Services will be on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012, at 2 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Littlefield.

Scratch was born on June 6, 1930, in Portales, N.M., to the late J.H. and Cora Lee. He attended Clovis High School and Littlefield High School, was #22 as a Fighting Wildcat, and later attended Texas Tech University and the University of Houston before graduating from North Texas University in 1958 with a business degree after completing his military service.

Scratch proudly served his country in the US Marine Corps during the Korean Conflict, where he retired a Captain. He was particularly proud of his service as an aviator aboard the aircraft carrier CV 18-USS Wasp, and as a member of VMA 223-known as the "Bulldogs." He was among the first group of US military pilots to fly jet aircraft from the deck of an aircraft carrier. His favorite entry in his logbook was "aboard on first pass." He flew many types of aircraft, including the F6F Hellcat and the F9F Panther jet.

After his military service, he returned to Littlefield, where he worked at The First National Bank of Littlefield for over 40 years. He became President and Chairman of the Board in 1976, and served in that capacity until he retired. He forged many lifelong friendships in this role, and was a mentor to many young men who wanted to be farmers. Scratch was also a fiercely proud and loyal Littlefield Wildcat supporter and fan.

Scratch's love of flying persisted throughout his life. He was a member of the Caprock Soaring Club, where he loved to tow sailplanes into the West Texas sky at the Littlefield airport. He was widely known in soaring circles throughout the US, where he towed at many regional and national competitions.

Scratch married Virginia "Judy" Lyvers (deceased) in Laguna Beach, Calif., 1956, and Linda Bennett in the Bahamas in 2005.

Along with his wife, Linda of Littlefield, he leaves behind a son, Jay H. Lee and wife Elaine of Amarillo; daughter, Jamie McCann and husband Mike of Lubbock; son, John Lee and wife Sherrilynn of Keller; grandsons, Jason Lee of Durango, Colo., Jacob Lee of Amarillo, Ryan Lee of Keller, Kasey McCann of Lubbock; and granddaughters, Brittany Lee of Keller, Mika McCann of Lubbock, and Emery Lee of Keller. Ed Hickman, of Euless, Texas, and formerly of Littlefield, a special friend and son-at-heart, survives him, as does a sister, Alma Ruth Kempton of San Angelo, Texas. He is also survived by a stepson, James Fields and wife Jamie; a stepdaughter, Cathy Matthews and husband Mark; and six grandkids.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Louise Iwen; and two brothers, Buster Lee and Don Lee.

Contributions can be made to The Caprock Soaring Club, 2909 20th Street, Lubbock, TX 79410; St. Luke's Hospital, 6720 Bertner, Houston, TX 77030; or a favorite charity.

Posted: 1/6/2012

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