Lee Russell Mayes, 96, a longtime resident of Washington state, died April 20, 2019, in Aberdeen, of natural causes. Lee was born Sept. 13, 1922, in Valley Mills, Texas, to parents Clarence Elden and Mae (Bridges) Mayes.
Lee spent his early years in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, area — during the Great Depression in the Dust Bowl — eventually being cared for at the Sunshine Home orphanage during some of the hardest years.
He left Texas for Los Angeles, California, where he joined the Army in 1940. He served during WWII and was stationed in Aberdeen, performing coastal defense, when he met his future wife, Helen Eva Marie Batinovich (daughter of Joe G. and Eva Batinovich of South Aberdeen). They married in 1944, and shortly after their marriage Lee was shipped to Europe as part of the D-Day invasion of France before returning to the United States after Germany’s surrender.
In Aberdeen, he worked at Ellison Pontiac before being hired at the downtown Sears and Roebuck store, and later opened Mayes Plumbing and Heating in 1950. He and Helen operated this business until the mid-1960s, when they re-opened as Ocean Shores Plumbing, where the business operated until 1969.
While in Ocean Shores, Lee became the director of the Pat Boone Golf Classic for Wendell-West Corporation of Seattle. After Wendell-West, he worked for Art Linkletter, the Eaton Corporation and finally the Frawley Corporation of Los Angeles, California, before retiring in 1986.
Lee and Helen divorced after more than 25 years of marriage in 1972, and Lee married Olga Davis Johnson. Upon their retirement, Lee and Olga moved from Los Angeles to Federal Way. They enjoyed travel, including trips to China and the Philippines and a trip to Europe (including Olga’s ancestral roots in Norway). Both were avid golfers, and Lee’s second hobby was woodworking, making more than 2,000 wooden plaques and figurines for family, friends and special occasions
He was active in many local organizations, including the Aberdeen Active 20-30 Club, the Aberdeen VFW, St. Mary’s Catholic Church and the Ocean Shores Volunteer Fire Department.
Lee was preceded in death by his brothers Roy, William, and Clarence Mayes, Jr.; his sisters Peggy Jo Little, Viola Louise Hodges, and Betty (Brinson) Johnston; his wife Olga; his step-daughter Dixie Johansen and his grandson John Mayes. He is survived by his son Joseph Wexford, Pennsylvania; his daughter Patty Beach of Ocean Shores, his step-daughters Susan Dolacky of Edmonds, and Kris (Bob) Romberg of Arlington, Washington; 11 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.