Benis Glen Lee, 86, of Orange, passed away on October 18, 2020, in Beaumont.
Benis was born in San Augustine, Texas, on November 23, 1933, the son of Johnnie Wesley Lee and Nona Belle (Graves) Lee. He graduated from Brownsville High School and attended the University of Texas where he received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, with a major in finance, and was a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. It was here where he met his loving wife, Paula Green, whom he married in 1955.
After graduating, Benis served in the United States Army and the United States Army Reserves and later attended Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University. He worked for Ford Motor Credit Company in Houston and Beaumont prior to moving to Orange to start his banking career where he served as an Executive Vice President of First City National Bank and Orange Bank. In 1978, he partnered with John Smith, to acquire Smith-Lee Cadillac Oldsmobile Pontiac GMC dealership and assumed the role of owner and general manager for the next 20 years before his retirement in 1998. During this time, he was an active member of the Rotary Club, Sunset Grove Country Club, the Greater Orange Area Economic Development Corporation, the Orange Yacht Club, the Orange County Board of Realtors, and the Orange Pony Colt League. He loved being a part of the Orange business community, but he was most passionate about his family, his horses and his garden.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Johnnie and Nona Belle Lee, his wife, Paula Lee, and sister, Maudie Dixon. He will be lovingly remembered by his children, Dr. Jonathan Lee and wife Jennifer, Dr. Paul Lee and wife Beth, and Stephen Lee and wife Jami; and grandchildren, Christy Lee, Ben Lee and wife Erica, Austin Lee and wife Bridgett, Adam Lee, Mitchell Lee, and Michael Lee.
His family is especially grateful to the staff of Brookdale Dowlen Oaks, Emily Blanchard, RN, and Angela Tezeno, LVN, of Best Hospice and caregiver Dee Dee Walsh for their excellent care and kindness during his final years.
Funeral services will be 11:00 a.m., Saturday, October 24, 2020, at Claybar Funeral Home in Orange. Private burial will follow services. Serving as pallbearers will be his grandchildren, Christy Lee, Ben Lee, Austin Lee, Adam Lee, Mitchell Lee and Michael Lee.
Visitation will begin at 10:00 a.m., prior to the service, at Claybar Funeral Home in Orange.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association. A tribute to Benis can be found on the organization’s website at www.alz.org.