Final flight

Lee had four tours in Vietnam, worked as cop for 25 years

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A collage of photographs was arranged for public viewing at the Smith & Turner Mortuary Monday for Floyd Lee’s funeral. He died Oct. 12. Lee served four tours in the Vietnam war and worked for the Yukon Police Department and the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office. (Photo by Tim Farley)

By Tim Farley, News Editor – Military hero and longtime Canadian County law enforcement officer Floyd Lee was buried in Fort Sill National Cemetery Monday. Lee, 81, died of heart-related problems Oct. 12.

Floyd spent 20 years in the U.S. Navy and served four tours of duty in Vietnam. As a navigator on U.S. Navy jets, Floyd and his crew were shot down twice behind enemy lines, his daughter Donna Lee said.

On the first occasion, U.S. troops rescued the crew almost immediately. The second time, however, failed to produce such quick results.

“I remember him telling us he spent three days in a tree until they were rescued,” Donna Lee said.

Like many people from that era, Floyd Lee entered the military at a young age. He was 16.
During his military career, Floyd Lee spent time aboard several high-profile ships, including the USS Kittyhawk, the USS Constitution, the USS Enterprise and the USS Ticonderoga. He was stationed at bases in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Hong Kong, Guam, Florida, Washington and California.

Floyd Lee received numerous honors for his valor and bravery, including the Navy Cross, which is the second-highest military decoration that may be awarded to Navy or Marine personnel. It is awarded for extraordinary heroism while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force.

While in the military, Floyd Lee also served as a distinguished pitcher on the U.S. Navy baseball team.

After leaving the military, Floyd Lee began his career in law enforcement by joining the Yukon Police Department in 1972. He stayed there six years and in 1982 he went to work for the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office.

“He was always involved in law enforcement in Yukon and the county. He was very professional and diligent in the performance of his duties here and with the sheriff’s office,”

Yukon Police Chief John Corn said.

Canadian County Sheriff Chris West never worked with Floyd Lee, but praised his work as a public servant.

“It’s a calling,” he said. “Most people don’t get into this line of work for the money. Most of the people I know in law enforcement are here to serve. His work in law enforcement and the military says a lot about him.”

Floyd Lee worked under sheriffs Jerry Ervin and Lewis Hawkins. While at Yukon, he worked for Police Chief Sam Ervin.

Law enforcement vehicles from the Yukon Police Department, the Yukon Fire Department and the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office escorted Floyd Lee’s body out of Yukon as the procession made its way to Elgin where the national cemetery is located.

As people entered the Smith & Turner Mortuary for the funeral, they were greeted by numerous photographs of Floyd Lee that depicted his family, military and law enforcement life.

Tim Ingram, general manager at the funeral home, said the large number of photos were placed outside the chapel as a way to memorialize the deceased and honor his service to country and community.

“Having served four tours in Vietnam is something that should be honored,” he said.
Floyd Lee was preceded in death by his parents, Samuel and Ruby Lee, and son Michael Lee.

He is survived by his loving wife Bobby Lee, 3 daughters, Debbie & Ron St. Cyr, Donna Lee, and Denise & Mark Rogers, and Merri Lee, 4 step daughters, Rene’ & Billy Correia, Sherrie & Bill Clark, Gwen & Lonney Biddle, and Kim & Charlie Morgan. He is also survived by 22 grandchildren and 28 great grandchildren.