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Lee Harkins, Jr. passed away Saturday, January 21, 2023, in Fort Worth Texas. Funeral service will take place at 10:00 am, Thursday, January 26, 2023, at First Baptist Church, Hillsboro. Visitation will be from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, Wednesday, January 25, 2023, at Marshall and Marshall, Hillsboro. Lee will be buried with Military Honors at 10:15 am, Tuesday, January 31, 2023, at the Dallas Fort Worth National Cemetery.
Lee Harkins was everything you knew him to be. Steadfast has always been the word I think of for him, but smart, analytical, and active also apply. He always put his actions, time, and resources where he believed work needed to be done. Now let’s talk about Dad’s bullwhip.
It was eight feet long and he’d make that thing pop for fun. It’s no wonder his shoulder gave him trouble later. Didn’t everybody’s father crack a whip? We thought that was normal. Of course, we also thought it was normal to have parents who loved us without reservation. Who always had our best interest at heart. And didn’t everybody’s father love their mother like a newlywed, for sixty-five years?
Lee Harkins, Jr. was born in Bellville, Texas, on November 27, 1937. His parents were Lee Harkins and Gladys Eubank Harkins. He was the oldest of the kids. Next came Larry, Kay, and Jan. His dad was a businessman with Humble Oil and his mom was a homemaker with the soul of a teacher. They moved every few years and Lee graduated high school in Vernon, Texas. He skipped second grade and was salutatorian and senior class president. He went to Baylor University on an Air Force ROTC scholarship, plus lots of side jobs, and received a BA in Mathematics. He later earned an MBA from Ohio State University.
While home at his parents in Pampa for a summer he met a beautiful young lady with sparkly eyes and a great sense of humor. He showed his intelligence by wooing her mother, too, then marrying Jeri Hill in July, 1958. He finished college and they started a career in the Air Force together. That career lasted over twenty-one years, going all over the world. They had three children, Brenda, Kristi and Brian, who went with them. He proudly served as a Launch Control Officer for five years in one of the first missile silos at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota.
After his military career, Lee entered college administration. He was Vice President for Financial Affairs at East Texas Baptist University, then as Vice president at Wiley College, and then helped found the Marshall campus of Texas State Technical College as Vice President. After retirement he managed a medical practice. Always learning.
He became a Hill County Commissioner after that retirement and loved helping take care of this area. More recently he started a company with family members. His yearly motorcycle tours over twenty-two years were true adventures. Always active.
Lee was a deacon in the Southern Baptist Church for most of his life. He dedicated his life to Christ and demonstrated his devotions by working for the good of His church all his life. Always the servant.
We are grateful for his long, glorious life, and grateful to know this good and faithful servant is now free of pain, of concerns of this world. He is with his son, brother and parents…probably cracking his bullwhip!
He was preceded in death by his parents, Lee Harkins, Sr. and Gladys Harkins; his brother, Larry Harkins; and his son, Brian Harkins. He is survived by his wife, Jeri Harkins of Hillsboro; his daughters, Brenda Harkins of White Bluff, and Kristi Harkins of Hillsboro; six grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.