I met Lee 20 years ago when I joined The Literary Club, a group of men who meet every Monday evening in downtown Cincinnati from mid-September to mid-June to hear a member read a paper. Lee went out of his way to welcome me into this arcane and sometimes difficult fellowship. His papers were masterpieces: I particularly remember the one about flying a bombing mission in World Ward II over Vienna. From his position as radio operator back in the fuselage, he looked up through the pilot’s window. The sky ahead was completely black from flack. Somehow his plane survived. He told me that on another occasion, the pilot told him to stand down from flying the mission that day. That very day, the plane he would have been on and 19 others were caught by German fighters armed with 20 mm canons that outranged the B-17s’ 50 caliber machine guns. Every single plane in that flight was shot down. Lee’s life was an amazing gift to all of us.
Lee resigned from the Club after his sight became so poor he could no longer drive home from the meetings after dark. I had lunch with him many times at Bronte’s in Joseph Beth in Rookwood Square, his favorite place for lunch . We talked about everything: God, life, death, writing, illness, dying, and his love and concern for his family. He gave me copies of his books, and I gave him copies of my published stories. His encouragement meant a lot to me. I will miss him, particularly on Memorial Days. There are not many like him left.
Fred M. (Memorial Day, 2016)