GFB broadcasting pioneer Jimmy Lee dies
Jimmy Lee, a long-time fixture on Georgia Farm Bureau broadcast media, died on Jan. 14. He was 86.
Jimmy was born and raised in Perry and was a graduate of Perry High School. He attended both Middle Georgia College in Cochran and Mercer University in Macon. He proudly served in the Georgia Army National Guard from 1953 to 1967.
In 1967, Jimmy began producing the weekly Georgia Farm Monitor program for the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation that was carried on 42 radio stations and WMAZ-TV in Macon. He later created the “Georgia Farm Monitor” television network that was broadcast statewide for Georgia Farm Bureau on 18 television stations with Macon’s WMAZ as the flagship station. Over the years, Lee produced and hosted 936 half-hour television shows with never a repeat show.
In 1970, Lee joined the GFB staff as director of radio and television services and in 1977, he was named information director. In addition, from 1980 until 1985, Lee produced six daily radio programs for the Georgia News Network (GNN). He also produced a monthly radio essay that was distributed nationally by the American Farm Bureau Federation on 200 radio stations.
In 1984-85, Lee was co-host with Steve Bell, from University of Georgia, on a farm show, “The Georgia Farmer,” on the Georgia Public Television network. The half-hour show was a collaboration between Georgia Farm Bureau, the University of Georgia, and Georgia Public TV. It won top farm show in the nation from the American Farm Bureau.
In 1985, Lee left Georgia Farm Bureau but returned in 1997 as a commodity promotion specialist and occasionally produced features for the “Georgia Farm Monitor.”
During all his years in broadcasting, Lee received numerous honors and awards, including the American Foundation of Agriculture National Farm Broadcaster of the Year in 1972. He received the top award in the nation from the American Farm Bureau Federation for his television and radio shows for nine different years, from 1970 through 1984. In 1977, Lee was inducted into the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
Lee retired from Georgia Farm Bureau in 2007 and began serving as a multi-media producer for the Georgia Peanut Commission.
Jimmy was preceded in death by his parents, Avery and Josephine Holloman Lee; his brother, Joneal Lee; and his beloved wife of 61 years, Iris Odell Lee.
Lee is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Jamie and Cheryl Lee of Juliette; his grandchildren, Breana “Breezy” Lee and Colby Lee; one great-grandson, Avery Lee; and several nieces, nephews, and other extended family members.
Condolences for the family and special memories of working with Jimmy may be left in the online guestbook at www.watsonhunt.com.