Lee is the one most recent recipients of the Helen Field Fisher Gold Medal. Established in 1950, the Helen Field Fischer Gold Medal is the American Hemerocallis Society’s highest honor and is the official recognition for distinguished and meritorious service rendered the AHS by a member on the national level. It is named for the founder of the American Hemerocallis Society.
Lee is past President of the Tennessee Valley Daylily Society and travels extensively giving presentations to daylily clubs and symposia. He joined the AHS in 1986 and immediately put his skills to use for the benefit of the AHS. Lee was elected Regional Vice President for Region 1 in 1990-1992. He served as the Editor of the region’s newsletter in 1990-2002 and distinguished himself as one of the first to introduce color and desktop publishing software to daylily newsletters. In recognition of his groundbreaking newsletters, The Daylily Appeal won the AHS Best Newsletter Award in 2000.
Lee broke new ground by introducing the concept of off-season symposia and chairing the very first Mid-Winter Symposium (MWS) in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He chaired 11 MWS. Off-season symposia further the educational goals of the society and foster social networking within the society at a national level. Lee is also a distinguished daylily hybridizer. He registered his first daylily, ‘Choo Choo Fantasy’, in 1995 and has registered over 130 cultivars.
In 1993 Lee and his wife Jean purchased two acres in Hixson, Tennessee just about twenty minutes north of Chattanooga. One of the first things they did at the new property was erect a greenhouse to further their hybridizing and seedling growing efforts. Hybridizing is now done in the greenhouse during March and April. This allows for earlier seed set and harvesting which in turn allows for earlier planting and increases the chance of 90 95% bloom by the second season. The seedlings, 3000-5000 per season, are evaluated outside so as to get a “true” measure of their performance.
Lee and Jean were both educators. Jean taught fourth grade most of her career, retiring in 1999. Lee started out as a classroom teacher and moved on to administration, ending his career as an administrator in the Dean's Office at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. He retired in 1998.
Jean is a Master Gardener and is quite active in their projects. In her spare time Jean is an accomplished rug hooker. She is also an accomplished dog walker and a volunteer at the Tennessee Aquarium.
In the off season they love to travel with the Napa Valley and National Parks being some of their favorite vacation spots.