interests developed early in life, when at the age of
13 he created an award-winning design to be used as
an emblem by civilian pilots on a peaceful wartime junket
to Mexico. His prize was to be a free trip to Mexico
in one of the planes, but his parents decided he was
too young to make the trip. Nevertheless, the award
helped solidify his lifelong interest in aviation, art,
As a college student. he designed
and published two booklets of sports cartoons, one on
the Lubbock High School football team, and the other
on the Texas Tech Red Raider football team. He continued
his interest in sports for a time after graduation,
drawing several dozen cartoons for the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal
and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, his first two newspaper
jobs. On one assignment in Justin, Texas, he drew a
sketch of a bank robber from a witness’s description.
The robber was caught two weeks later, and the incident
was dramatized for television in 1956 for Pall Mall’s
Big Story Award, in which Lee played himself.
He also tinkered with
oil painting, but didn’t try any serious painting
until 1964, when he moved to San Antonio. He became
friendly with a number of San Antonio artists during
this period, and sold several paintings over the next
couple of years, as well as holding one-man shows and
exhibiting annually in the San Antonio starving artists’
In 1966, worried that he was spreading
himself thin with too many creative interests.—art,
creative writing, and photography—he decided to
choose one field and apply himself to it.
So he chose writing as his preferred
profession. Art and photography took a back seat at
this point, and became only favored hobbies.
Now that he is retired, Lee and his
wife, Shirley Miller Lee, have built an artists’
studio behind their Texas ranch house where they both
continue to paint for pleasure.