Ms. Mable Brunson Lee of Panama City and formerly of Bascom, transitioned from life to eternal rest on Tuesday, October 18th at home surrounded by family. She was 90 years of age.
The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Ps. 90:10 KJV
Having lived a long life of fourscore years and ten, Mable was the special namesake of a beloved aunt, and the very first child of her parents, William “Bill” Brunson and Neater Ruth Sorey Brunson. It was in Bascom of Jackson County, Florida, where Mable was born; where she was spiritually nurtured at Liberty Hill Baptist Church; and where she was educated in the county’s public schools.
When the family relocated to Panama City, Bay County, Florida, Mable joined the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church; and continued her education at the Rosenwald Jr. Sr. High School, where she met the love of her life, “Stag” Robert E. Lee. The couple wed, producing one son, followed by five daughters— two of whom are twins.
From her days of milking the family cow, at age six —in the Bascom mud and muck— to her hard times as a maid in Panama City homes and Panama City Beach hotels, Mable worked the difficult jobs that circumstances dictated for many Black women of her era. Yet, her seemingly, impossible dream of a better life for herself and her family fueled her climb onward and upward. Even with five daughters, she managed to graduate from Lady Ethel’s Beauty College, to become a Florida Licensed Master Cosmetologist and the owner-operator of Lee’s Beauty Salon. As the years passed, her dream guided her to continue her education at Gulf Coast College, while working for the State of Florida, in the field of Nutrition Science.
Armed with her innate gift for cooking and baking, she delighted family, friends —friends of family, and friends of friends— with delicious Southern-style dishes and desserts. Her sharp mind enjoyed reading and word puzzles; and her heart carried the love of learning and education that she instilled in her girls. Consequently, she insisted that her daughters have “good manners,” and speak grammatically correct English. Of course, some “un-lady-like” words –such as, “pee”, “butt”, and “booty”—were forbidden!
While serving her community at Redemption Lutheran Church, and at Tabernacle Baptist Church, as a Deaconess, Miss Mable’s dream survived. Her long-held dream was to become a teacher. And now, at long last, the day had arrived when her, seemingly, impossible dream was possible. By God’s grace and the help of her husband, she had become a Teacher’s Assistant and Master Substitute Teacher in the Bay County Florida School District. She had manifested her dream, and led the way for her productive progeny –which include eight college graduates and an attorney among her direct descendants. Certainly, Mrs. Lee has left a living legacy of faith and of overcoming adversity.
She is survived by four daughters: Barbara Lee-Brown, FL; Carolyn Lee Kramsky (Michael), CA; Marilyn Lee Mitchell (Arthur), TX; and A. Danita Lee Russell (Patrick), FL; nine grandchildren: Robb B. Lee (Laila), FL; Brandon Lee Brown, FL; Briahna Lee Martinez, Esq. (Jorge, Esq.), FL; Carlton V. Bouie (Janine), FL; Marcus K. Thomas, CA; Kenneth M. Thomas, CA; E. Duane Goff (Sarah), TX; Antonio M. Carroll (Anna), FL; and D’Aundre T. Carroll, FL; six great-grandchildren: Kiera, Sanaa, and Iyana Bouie, FL; Serenity and Naraya Goff, TX; and Noah Carroll, FL; one brother: Deacon Robert Brunson, Sr (Donna), FL; four sisters: Ida Brunson Orum, FL; Geraldine Brunson Taylor, TX; Myra Brunson Williams, FL; and Evelyn Brunson Lewis, FL; one sister-in-law: Noretha Y. Lee Jones, CA; hundreds of beloved nieces, nephews, step grands, cousins, other relatives; friends; and an excellent and loving care-giver, Colleen Davis (Raymond).
Family will receive friends at Battle Mortuary on Friday, October 28th from 4-6p.m.
A Homegoing Celebration will be Saturday, October 29th at 1p.m at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church where Reverend Joseph McCalister is pastor, Reverend Dr. Rufus Wood, Jr. officiating. Interment will follow in the Hillside Cemetery with arrangements entrusted to the Caring Staff at Peoples Funeral Home of Marianna.