Courier ‘family member’ dies

BY THE FLORIDA COURIER STAFF

151106_front04DANIA BEACH – Wardell Jackson Lee, stepfather of Florida Courier staffer Lisa Rogers-Cherry, died Oct. 28 due to complications from a stroke he suffered more than two years ago. He was 75.

Lee was born on Oct. 12, 1940 at Redfish Point (now a part of Tyndall Air Force Base) in Bay County (Panama City).  Redfish Point was a historically Black community founded by his maternal great-grandfather Jose Masslieno, a Spanish sailor who jumped ship in the year 1812 and swam ashore there.  Wardell was the second son of five children born to Edward Lee, Sr. and Sarah Mildred Masslieno.

They moved the family across the bay to Panama City, where Lee graduated from Rosenwald High School in 1958.  At an early age, he joined New Judson Missionary Baptist Church, which was established in 1877 and co-founded by his maternal grandfather, Narcisco “Hawk” Masslieno, a Civil War Federal Navy veteran who is also considered to be an early Bay County pioneer.

After graduating with degrees from both Bethune-Cookman College and Florida A&M University, Lee wed Etter Smith. To this union, three children were born.

He moved his young family to South Florida in 1967, where he was hired as a guidance counselor at Blanche Ely High School in Pompano Beach. He finished his formal career in education by serving as a guidance counselor at South Plantation High School before changing professions in 1979, joining Florida Power & Light as an electrician. He worked there for 18 years before retiring.

After his first marriage ended, he married Mamie Gooden in 1991 and relocated to Dania Beach, where he joined St. Ruth Missionary Baptist Church and became a deacon and faithful servant there. For more than 18 years, he served on the City of Dania Beach’s Police and Fire Pension Board.  In 1999, he was initiated into Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. by the Broward County Alumni Chapter.

Survivors include his wife, Mamie Gooden Lee; siblings Dan Lee (Beverly) and Mildred Jean Lee; children Stefanie Atkins (Todd), Arlene Hall (David), Dana Lee (Kristi), and Lisa Rogers-Cherry (Charles II); and a host of grandchildren, aunts, uncles, and other relatives. His mother, father, and two of his siblings preceded him in death.

A homegoing service is set for Saturday, Nov. 7, at 1 p.m. at St. Ruth Missionary Baptist Church, 145 NW 5th Ave., Dania Beach.

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