Clarence "Mick" Lee passed away on February 20, 2020, at his home, the Casa de Manana Retirement Community in La Jolla, California. He was six weeks shy of his 102nd birthday on April 11.
Mick was born to Albert and Clara (Fystro) Lee on April 11, 1918, in Jasper, Minnesota. He was one of six children, including siblings Clifford, Marvel, Vernon, Ruth and Baby Albert, all of whom preceded him in death.
His formal schooling started in Artesian, South Dakota, but it was only the beginning for him; he was a lifelong learner. His jobs and eventual career were as varied as his interests. From 1933 to 1940 Mick's jobs included cowboy, a Civilian Conservation Corps worker at the Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota, and a railroad job in Minnesota. In 1940, Mick made a move that would alter his life forever when he headed West on his Indian Scout motorcycle. He ended his trip in San Diego, which would remain his home for the rest of his life.
Music brought him often to the Pacific Square Ballroom where he met his future wife, Melva Wilbanks, in 1948. They were married on June 17, 1950, and shared their lives for 64 years. Mick trained at Cal-Aero, an Aero-tech school in Los Angeles. From there, he began working for Consolidated Aircraft in San Diego, which later became Convair, and eventually, General Dynamics.
He was a certified manufacturing engineer. He began as an experimental mechanic for Consolidated, working on aircraft and engines. Later he became a flight test planner for commercial aircraft.
Those who knew Mick heard him speak with pride of his work alongside Theodore P. Hall, the creator of the microcar named the Airway. As a loaned engineer, he collaborated with Hall on a model of a flying car. It was one of his career highlights. Upon his return to Convair, Mick spent three years working with fellow engineers and scientists on the guidance system of the cruise missile. In 1980, after 39 years with the same company, Mick retired from General Dynamics.
Mick was laid to rest alongside his beloved wife, Melva, who preceded him in death in 2014. Services were held on Feb. 28, 2020, in San Diego, Ca.
Greenwood Memorial and Mortuary in San Diego, Ca., is in charge.