Family Histories of Coleman County, Texas

by Anne Lee

From A History of Coleman County and Its People, 1985 
edited by Judia and Ralph Terry, and Vena Bob Gates - used by permission

The Robert E. Lee family came to Coleman in August, 1932, from Fort Worth - Robert Edward Lee, Charlotte Anne (Rochester), Anne, Robert E. Jr. and Richard Rochester. An aviation pioneer, Lee also was engaged in oil develop­ment, patenting his own invention-the Lee Angular Drill-and operating his own geophysical exploration company, us­ing one of the first airborne magnatometers. He was born in Midland, in 1886 - a descendant of Confederate General Robert E. Lee-and attended Virginia Military Institute and the Nevada College of Mines. After serving with the U.S. Marine Corps, he became a member of the first graduating class for pilot training under the Wright brothers at Simms Station, Dayton, Ohio, in 1915, where he met and married Charlotte Rochester, a Dayton resident. They moved to San Antonio for Lee’s training at Randolph Field, prefacing his service in WW I as commander of the 47th Aero Squadron based in France under the Aviation Section, Signal Corps, U.S. Army. During WW II, he was commandant of the 55th Air Depot at Des Moines, Iowa AAFB. Lee is a member of Who’s Who in Aviation, the Early Birds (licensed pilots in U.S.A. before 1916), a Mason, a former commander of Coleman’s American Legion Ray Post #213, a member of various geophysical organizations and was an industrial counselor for the Research Institute of the University of Oklahoma.

Mrs. Lee was born in Chicago in 1894 of Canadian parentage, later moving to Dayton where she attended schools. In Fort Worth and Coleman, she was active in American Red Cross, Parent Teachers Association and the Presbyterian Church. She died in 1972.

Robert E. Jr. attended Coleman schools and Spartan School of Aeronautics before combat service as troop carrier pilot with the USAF in Europe during WW II and again in the Korean conflict. He was twice married, resided abroad and during his career in aviation had his own airline serving the Sahara and later, from Madrid to Majorca, Spain. He died in Singapore in 1971.

Richard R. attended Coleman schools and the Univer­sity of Texas before combat duty as troop carrier pilot with the USAF in China-Burma-India during WW II, later serv­ing as jet instructor at Tyndall AFA, Panama City, Florida. Lee joined Coleman Mutual Life Insurance Association in 1945, moved the company to Dallas in 1967 and became its president. (It now is Life of the Southwest-a Halhiburton Company-with operations in 46 states and the District of Columbia.) He married Bernice Cobb, daughter of Sam T. Sr., and Hattie [Brown] Cobb) who attended Coleman schools and the University of Texas, and they had two sons: Richard Rochester Jr. and Samuel Robert, both attended Coleman schools and the University of Texas. R.R. Jr. also received his MBA from Southern Methodist University, following service in Vietnam with the U.S. Army and is founder and president of Lee Financial Corporation of Dallas. S.R. received his degree in law from the University of Houston, his C.L.U. designation and is an independent insurance broker specializing in estate planning and in­surance. Both are married and reside with their families in Dallas. All the Lee family are frequent Coleman visitors and active in hunting in Coleman and the surrounding areas.

Anne attended Fort Worth and Coleman schools, the University of Texas and the Art Institute of Dallas. She was married in Fort Worth and has since made her home in Dallas, where she has worked in the news media, public rela­tions and advertising, serving as public relations director and vice president of a Dallas advertising firm before entering the travel business.

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