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Leland Mullins (Lee)


Lee was born on Jan. 29, 1939 in a small town in Kentucky where he enjoyed a fun, carefree life.  Small town, safe environment where parents felt free to let kids roam.

Life changed for Lee when his parents moved to Clearwater to help his brother. Lee suddenly faced the challenge of entering a new high school in his junior year. He enrolled in Clearwater High School and discovered that he was one of about 350 classmates. BIG change!  Fortunately, three very nice guys there—Bob, Jerry, and Art soon became lifelong friends with Lee.  Together they formed the exclusive club UPBA (Upper Pinellas Bachelor’s Association). Bachelors forever!  They all graduated in 1957 as did Lee’s future wife Betty.  Surprisingly, Lee and Betty never met until a year after graduation when they met at Skycrest Baptist Church.

The UPBA disappeared after each member found the love of his life. Lee was the last to marry. He and Betty were engaged for 2 LONG years. Uncle Sam drafted Lee and sent him to Korea for 13 months and then to Washington state for the last months of his required services.  FINALLY, Lee and Betty married on June 27, 1964 at Skycrest Baptist Church where they first met.  

Lee immediately became a loving, devoted husband.  And when the children arrived, he became a very loving, devoted dad.   His family, his friends, and his church were the most important things in his life.  The children were taken to church when they were just a few weeks old (too young, complained Grandmother). When they were a little older, kids’ soccer, cub scouts, girl scouts, band, and high school football games filled Lee’s free time.  Lee watched his very young son Mike lie down on the soccer field to gaze up at beautiful blue sky.  (Fortunately, son did not get trampled!)   Lee pulled the wagonloads of cookies as daughter Sherri delivered her girl scout cookies. Friday nightbrought football games as Sherri was in the CHS band and her parents were volunteers.  

The children grew up, got married, and then Lee became a happy, devoted grandfather.  He adored Dana, Ryan and Liam, and took every opportunity to see them,wrestle around with them, and just have fun with those great kids.  

In 1999 Lee decided that it was time to retire.  He had spent 33 years working at Raytheon.  What would he do in retirement?  He always enjoyed helping others, so he now had more volunteer time.  His daughter Sherri started volunteering at Give Kids the World in Kissimmee and she got both of her parents hooked, also.  Many happy hours were spent greeting Wish families at the Orlando airport on their way to GKTW village. Often Lee, Betty and Sherri would go to the village and operate the carousel, do gift giving for the children or help in Katie’s Kitchen.

Those who know Lee will remember his great passion for cars.   He could drive any vehicle, and he knew make, model and year of almost any car on the road.   Going for an afternoon drive with his wife Betty (“bookworm” who always took her book) was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  He enjoyed taking his antique Chevelle to local car show and smiling as others admired his beautiful vehicle.   He loved visiting Hershey, PA, several times to see hundreds of gorgeous cars at their annual national car show.

For many years Lee assumed that all of his traveling would be done driving to either KY or to AL to visit relatives.  HOWEVER, after retiring he suddenly discovered there were many beautiful places all around the world to see.   He became an expert bargain-hunter for good travel deals.   He managed to find “deals” for cruises and travels to Alaska, Switzerland, Venice, Norwegian Fjords, S. Africa, Australia, Iceland, and many other beautiful places. Everywhere he went he met many kind, thoughtful people.

Since Lee always loved animals there had to be at least one “animal adventure” on his itinerary.   One of the most memorable incidents involved an elephant who suddenly did NOT like having a jeep nearby. As the elephant advanced several times toward the jeep it became a rather scary experience. Finally, the elephant gave a last glance and then just meandered away.  Relief for Lee and the others in that jeep.

After 56 years of marriage, and a life that ended far too soon, Lee made his journey to heaven on Feb.14, 2021.   He will be greatly missed by his loving wife Betty, daughter Sherri McGahee, son Mike Mullins, grandchildren Dana, Ryan, and Liam Mullins and many dear friends.   A Memorial service will be planned for sometime in the future.

Those who wish to honor Lee in a special way may do so by donating to Christian Outreach Center, P.O. Box 1062, Largo FL 33779 or St. Paul United Methodist Church in Largo or to their favorite charity.

 

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  • Pam Luthin says:

    My husband John and I have many fond memories of our time with Betty and Lee, sharing our stories about traveling and going out to dinner together. We will always remember his kindness when he delivered a wheelchair to our home when my sister had two broken ankles and how he took care of my husband John when he had a broken foot on our trip to Branson with them. We had such a good time going to the shows, seeing snow, and the beautiful Christmas lights. We went to dinner often and visited in their home frequently. We always enjoyed looking at picture albums of their latest trips. Betty and Lee are our dear friends and Lee will be missed by all who admired him. Our condolences to Betty, Sherri, and Mike and the grandchildren.

  • Sandra and Paul Klein says:

    Paul and I have known Lee and Betty since 1965…”really OLD friends”! Betty and I share teaching memories of Belcher Elementary days and our own children enjoyed playdates.
    After we moved to Tennessee, we joined each other for vacation get togethers. Lee has followed Christ right into his heavenly home. We will miss him–
    compassionate, generous, peace-loving, intelligent, logical, loyal, and always available for family and friends. We send our love to Betty, Sherri, and Michael.

  • Mary Mackey Vaughn says:

    Lee was a faithful friend and helper to my Aunt Mary Lou, the widow of Lee’s brother, Ray. Both Lee and Betty were always there whenever they were needed.
    They transferred that care and concern to me when Aunt Mary Lou died and many times have invited me out to eat, always took time to talk with me at church and Lee always had a funny thing to say when I would enter church and he was ushering. They even made sure that I had sufficient toilet paper when it grew scarce during this pandemic. 🥰
    Lee and Betty both are true friends and live their faith. Lee will be missed by his family, his friends, his church and by all who knew him!

  • Eli Dalabakis says:

    I enjoyed working with Lee at Raytheon. He was very smart and a good coworker. He will be missed. May is memory be eternal!!

  • Jerry Moore says:

    I had been at ECI for several years when Lee came to work there in 1966. Although I was in a different department the nature of our work on different projects resulted in us being in contact quite frequently. I put Lee in a category I call “the quiet man”! Unlike many of us, he listened! He wasn’t bashful, but when he spoke he had something significate to say which contributed to the solution of the work in progress. His story tells us he had a full and committed life. The last time I saw Lee was at our last retirement luncheon about a year ago. This also tells us we need to be ready! The best is yet to come!

  • Bob Martin says:

    When you met Lee you discovered two things…he was quiet about some things and very vocal about others. Lee was a quiet man of faith. His presence was always warming, his words few, but when he spoke, you better listen because he had something to say that was important. When it came to family, Lee was vocal. I found Lee to be deeply devoted to Betty and the family. He adored them all and gave himself to the maximum ability.

    Lee had a generous spirit and one that opened doors for others, especially those who were in need. He was quiet about the many ways he helped others…likely, I believe, because he was truly a humble man.

    When I spoke to Lee just a few days before his death he shared the mantra for his life: he expressed his deepest love and devotion to his beloved Betty, doted on his adult children and remarked how blessed he was to have “great kids”. As a grandfather he exhibited the same love and devotion as well.

    Lee will be missed but I know in all my heart this man of quiet faith is with Jesus and we will see him one day again. Until then, my brother, God be with you till we meet again.

  • PJ Cosgrove says:

    Mullins family-

    I was saddened to hear of Lee’s passing because I consider him one of my first mentors when I started my engineering career at E-Systems/Raytheon. I initially got to know Lee while leading the FIRST Robotics team. He provided his “quiet guidance” to the entire group of engineers/technicians/machinists while we showed high school kids how to break down problems, work as a team and be competitive with technology. (Regional trips to New Hampshire, New Jersey, Illinois and championships in Orlando only made our team’s time together that much more memorable, and Lee was a big part of these!)

    During the “off season” I’d often pop into Lee’s office seeking his thoughts around my engineering career and current work situations. He always made time for me and provided a calming voice when my tensions were rising, got me to step back and see the big picture, and reminded me to have some fun with what I’m doing.

    While we both left Raytheon in 1999 -he to retirement, and me chase another work opportunity- I lost touch with Lee, but I always looked back fondly on the guidance he provided to me early in my career and having fun outside of work.

    You have my deepest sympathies on your loss of a great husband/father/grandfather/friend/mentor. Please know that his memory will live on in so many people like me who were fortunate to know him for even a small moment of his life.

  • Bill Elmhurst says:

    I had the pleasure of knowing and working closely with Lee at E-Systems/Raytheon for several years and later at St Paul Methodist Church. He was always ready to offer a smile and a helping hand to others. The wonderful photos on this memorial wall speak beautifully of his love of Betty and his family and his Lord – a testament to a life well lived! I pray God’s comfort to the Mullins family and His blessing of their heavenly reunion. As one who shared in Lee’s life and trust God’s promises I look forward to that day.

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