WWII vet W. H. “Lee” LeMasters, age 95, of Toledo, OR, loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend to many passed away May 27, 2021.
Lee was born June 12th, 1925 in East St. Louis, IL to Harold and Mary LeMasters. In 1929 he and his mother’s family moved to the Los Angeles area, where he lived until 1994 when he moved to Toledo.
From 1942-46, Lee served in the US Navy, upon the USS Anderson DD-411 and the USS Hollandia CVE-97. He earned 5 battle stars, but his proudest service was helping bring home the survivors of the sunken USS Indianapolis. He served in the USN Reserves from 1957-61 and later a Custer-era re-enactment group with the US Army Cavalry.
From 1948-72 Lee was married to A.J. Smith, with whom he had 3 daughters. He worked for General Motors for 35 years. In 1986 he married Marilyn Rhodes, with whom he raised one daughter and co-owned The Heritage Shoppe.
Lee’s greatest passions were his faith, his family, music, history, and reading. He was a poet and collector of many things. Lee was a vivacious and caring man who loved to joke and make people laugh. He felt it his mission each day to make people smile. He made friends wherever he went and kept in touch with childhood friends and shipmates his entire life.
Lee was a member of Newport First Baptist and Yaquina Bay Baptist churches, the VFW, and American Legion. He served on the Board of the Toledo Public Library and read his poetry annually at Memorial Day remembrances. Lee sang in and directed many church choirs and was part of the Chorale Bel Canto of Whittier College and the Long Beach Barbershoppers.
Lee is survived by his wife, Marilyn, daughters Nancy Bergman, Karen Brown (Ian), Cynthia McCuen (Ron), and Christina LeMasters, and nearly 40 grand-, great-, and great-great-grand-children. He will be dearly missed.
Visitation will be at Bateman Funeral Home on Thursday June 10, 1pm - 4pm, and Friday June 11, 10am - 5pm. Services will begin at 1pm Saturday June 12 at Newport First Baptist Church, followed by an Honor Guard Escort to Eureka Cemetery where military honors will be bestowed, followed by cake and music in celebration of Lee’s life.
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