Myrtice Crews Lee, age 83, of Lake Butler, Florida, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family, at the North Florida Regional Hospital in Gainesville on December 19, 2022. The middle of three daughters, Myrtice was born at home to Roy and Masie Crews on January 10, 1939. Growing up, she was a second mother to her younger sister, Annie Ruth, and always found time to play with her. At the age of 15, she married James B. Lee on December 18, 1954, and they were happily married for 56 ½ years, until James passed in 2011. Myrtice and James had a love story that few get to witness, much less experience, and she never stopped missing him. She was known for her gentle kindness and her unconditional love of everyone she met. She sent everyone she knew a birthday card, which she printed from her computer, personalized for the recipient. She especially loved her grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren, always having Smarties in her pocket, and time to play, read a book or share a nursery rhyme. She was a member of the Lake Butler Church of Christ and the Lake Butler Woman’s Club.
Myrtice was taught the art of sewing by her mother, and worked as a seamstress at Lake Butler Apparel. It was normal for her to make clothing for James, dresses for her daughters and Halloween costumes for her grandchildren that were all better than the store-bought stuff. She could make her own patterns if the right one couldn’t be found. She later worked as a secretary for her son-in-law’s wrecker and mechanic shop, but continued to mend and alter clothes for anyone that asked. She and James were involved in an automobile accident in 1994, which created two chapters of their lives: “before the wreck”, and “after the wreck”. Within hours of arriving at Shands after the accident, her family was given little hope of her surviving, and no chance of a normal life. She used her quiet grit and fierce determination to prove the doctors all wrong, making an almost full recovery.
She had many hobbies including genealogy research, photography, and her computer. Before the wreck, she did genealogy by walking cemeteries to document all of the burials there. After the wreck, she did her research online. She had more cousins than she could count, not only because she had a large family, but also because she actually knew them, and could recite the family link by heart for all of them, even if it took five or six generations to make the connection. She loved taking pictures, and had an actual dark room in her home. She would take and develop her own pictures. After the wreck, she used digital photography. She learned to use a computer as if she was a teenager, and got AOL as soon as it was a thing. She spent hours sitting at her computer, mostly doing genealogy, playing with her pictures and making birthday cards.
Myrtice was preceded in death by her husband, James; her daughter Ruth Winningham; her parents Roy and Masie Crews; and her sister Bertha Mae (Earl) Sutherland. She is survived by her daughter Debbie (Joe) Hendricks of Lake Butler; her son-in-law Bobby (Alice) Winningham; grandson, Rob (Johnny) Winningham of Fort Worth, Texas; granddaughters Amy (Thom) Perkins, Kellie (Jessie) Rhoades and Stacie (Richard) Cason all of Lake Butler; sister Ann (David) Hendricks of Lake Butler; thirteen great-grandchildren: Jackson, Carter, Eli and Emilia Perkins; Tanner, Judd and Tripp Connell; Andie Jo Rhoades; Landon, Clayton, Allie, Alston and Aubrie Cason; honorary grandson, Danny Plumlee; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.