Obituary of Lee Massie, II
Lee, age 52, passed away on September 9th, 2021, at home in Georgetown, SC, surrounded by family and friends. He passed, but his extraordinary life, personality, intelligence, kindness, generosity, wit, and love live on in the hearts and memories of those who knew him. He fought a good fight against cancer over the last 5 years and 9 months. No words can truly convey all that Lee was and all that he means to those who knew him. However, this is an effort to provide a glimpse into his life.
Lee was born May 13, 1969, in Parkersburg, West Virginia. From age 2 to 16, he lived in Charlotte, North Carolina. Lee’s mother and father died when Lee was 13 and 15 years, respectively. He finished out the school year in Charlotte, living with the Moore family. Lee then moved to Gauley Bridge, West Virginia, to live with his Aunt Helen, Uncle Don, and cousins. Being advanced in his high school studies, Lee obtained his GED and started college at age 16. Lee was introduced to firefighting as a volunteer during this time at the Gauley Bridge Fire Department, leading to a life-long devotion to the fire service.
Lee enlisted in the US Army in 1989 as an Air Scout Observer and, with the 82nd Airborne Division, served in Operation Desert Storm. After leaving active duty, Lee continued military service in the North Carolina Army National Guard (NCANG). Lee completed a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from West Virginia Tech, his parents’ alma mater, and was subsequently commissioned a lieutenant as a field artillery officer, ultimately being awarded the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara. As a physician, Lee completed additional training and was designated a Flight Surgeon, an assignment in which he worked tirelessly to support the NCANG’s mission and aviators. As Flight Surgeon, he deployed for active duty in Iraq in 2007 and 2011. Lee retired as a Lt. Colonel in 2012, culminating over 22 years of active and NCANG military service.
Lee served the Gastonia Fire Department (GFD) proudly and honorably from May 1993 through August 1997. By all reports, Lee was an excellent firefighter. Lee completed another college degree related to firefighting and held advanced firefighter certifications, including Hazardous Materials, Fire Service Instructor, and Emergency Medical Technician. While at GFD, Lee coordinated the emergency medical training program and taught classes at the Regional Emergency Services Training Center. Lee was well respected by his fellow firefighters, who remember him for his genuine kindness, quick wit, and intelligence. Years later, while battling cancer, Lee often said his most enjoyable and rewarding job was that of firefighting. He resigned from GFD—his “most favorite job ever”--to pursue his desire to become a physician.
Lee was employed as a firefighter with the city of Georgetown; worked as an Emergency Department Technician at Georgetown Memorial Hospital, both in Georgetown, South Carolina; and took additional courses at Coastal Carolina University while preparing to start medical school. Lee attended the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg, West Virginia, from 1998 to 2002. After medical school, he completed his residency in Emergency Medicine in York, Pennsylvania, in 2006. He became board certified in emergency medicine and was a partner of Conway Emergency Group, working in the emergency department on the night shift at Conway Medical Center, Conway, South Carolina, from 2006 to December 2015, when he was diagnosed with cancer.
Despite cancer treatment, Lee continued to serve his community. He was a Gold Legacy Life member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6444 in Georgetown, South Carolina, where he worked selflessly for the organization’s betterment. Lee held various officer positions within the VFW organization, including Post 6444 Commander, Post 6444 Senior-Vice Commander, Post 6444 Adjutant, and District 7 Adjutant. Lee served as a board member for both the Georgetown County Veterans Memorial and Georgetown County Fire/EMS District #1 and was a member of the American Legion Post 114.
Lee was authentic, generous, devoted, and steady. Lee and Cheryl married in 2014, forming a nuclear family that included Savannah and Georgia, “the girls,” the most beautiful puppies ever. Lee embraced and was embraced by Cheryl’s large family. The couple made memories together and with friends and family traveling, RVing, watching Fox news, having barrel and bon fires, “hi-jinking” (as Lee called it), visiting the VFW and downtown Georgetown, and just hanging out together. Lee made every effort to connect with old friends, make new friends, and live life to the fullest. He maintained friendships that started as a child and teenager, embracing those friends as family. Always an ambassador for the VFW, he made a point to visit as many VFW posts as possible during his travels. Lee had an awesome voice and was known to karaoke when the opportunity presented; he was a hit performer at his favorite spot in Savannah, Georgia. Lee had a large song repertoire, but “County Roads” was his most popular. Through it all, Lee read his Bible (front-to-back twice, he reported), he said his prayers, and his actions were those of a man who loved God, country, and family.
Lee was preceded in death by his mother, Tiny Cogar Massie, and father, William Lee Massie; grandparents Charlie Massie, Mattie Lilly Massie, Minter Cogar and Gay Cogar; uncles Joe Massie, Harold Cogar, Darrell Cogar, Gerald Cogar, Don Morris, Jim Vance and Joe Moskal; aunts Helen Cogar Morris, Marie Cogar Walker, Anna May Massie Moskal, Freda Cogar, Peggy Cogar, Wanda Cogar; cousins Michael Vance, Dwayne Cogar, Don Walker, Jr; great-nephew Easton Jordan; and embraced family Todd Moore, Eddie Moore, and Kelly Kistler Morrison. Georgia Winyah “Gigi” Massie, his 7-year-old “puppy,” passed a few months before Lee.
Lee is survived by wife Audrey Cheryl Soles Massie and fur baby Savannah Santee Massie. Surviving aunts and uncles include Joann Cogar Vance, Ted (Charlotte) Massie, Jane (Adam) Toney, and Nancy Wriston Massie. Surviving cousins consist of Edgar (Becky) Morris, Bob (Dee Ann) Morris, Jim (Tammy) Morris, Mary Gaye (Bob) Scott, Paul (Terri) Massie, Teddy Massie, Keith Massie, Greg Massie, Robby Massie, Lisa (Greg) Bell, Charlie (Debbie) Toney, Christi (Jim) Copley, Cindy (Kevin) McDougald, Roger (Linda) Vance, Minter Cogar, Angie Cogar Journell, Susie (Floyd) Beaudette, Kevin Moskal, Delbert (Norma) Walker, Marita (Larry) Gawthorp, Mary Ann (Mark) McClumg, Rexanna (Jeff) Knighting, Ricky Walker, and Ernie Cogar. Lee is also survived by his embraced family: Betty Moore; Tim, Gina, Madison, and Morgan Moore; Tommy Hoyle; Pat Kistler; Kristin Kistler; Chris and Angie Carroll; Kelsey Taylor; Summer Taylor; Dillon Taylor; Christian Carroll; Johnnie Kincaid; Randy Krise; Kenneth and Tonia Tawes; Bryce Tawes and Gracin Young. Lee is also survived by father- and mother-in law Dan and Doris Page; brother- and sister-in-law Tommy and Renee Soles; nieces and nephews Heather (Martin) Papp; Leigh Anne (Tyler) Jones; Sarah (Justin) Perry, and Kelsey (Jason) Richmond; and great nephews Vance Jordan, Mason Papp, Soles Jones, and Massey Papp. Lee was blessed with a large family circle, in which there are numerous other beloved second and subsequent cousins, step-relatives, and embraced family members, which includes his VFW Post 6444 family.
As Lee desired, there will be both a private celebration of Lee’s life at home and an open memorial held at the Georgetown VFW Post 6444; details will be announced at a later date, but we anticipate these will be held in a couple months. Lee requested that, in lieu of flowers or such, he be remembered by donations to the Georgetown VFW Post 6444, located at 711 Church St, Georgetown, SC, 29440 or Saint Frances Animal Shelter, at 125 Ridge St, Georgetown, SC 29440.