Clinton Wellington Lee
Grace Mabel Wright Lee
1893 - 1966
Clinton W. Lee, a Seventh-day Adventist minister, and his wife Grace, a pianist, spent their lives working in evangelism and education in the U.S., Korea, and the Philippines, the latter during World War II, when he was interned for a year as a prisoner of war. following the war, they lived in Berrien Springs, Michigan, for six years and then resumed mission service in Korea, where he was president of the Korean Union Mission.
Clinton was born in Calhoun, Michigan, on March 3, 1983, the older of two children and only son of George and Helen L. Salisbury Lee. He was active in evangelism in Michigan, beginning in his teenage years while still attending school. He married Grace Mabel Wright on May 30,1917.
Grace had been born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on December 28, 1893, the older of two daughters of John and Irene B. Ruefle Wright. When she was fifteen, she and her mother and grandmother joined the SDA Church. After completing twelve grades and taking additional study in music, she was hired to teach music at Bethel Academy, later Wisconsin Academy, in 1914.
Shortly after their marriage, they accepted an invitation to work in Arkansas. In 1920 they were invited to serve in Korea, where they worked for the next twenty years. During that time they had three sons, two of whom survived childhood. Most of those first years were spent in a country mission, where she raised her children alone since her husband was frequently traveling in his ministry. He completed a degree in 1936, at EMC during periodic furloughs
In 1940, because of increasing tensions in that region of the world, she returned to the U.S., while he went to the Philippines to teach at Philippine Union College in 1941 for a year. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he and other Americans who were teaching or serving as adminstrators at the college were placed in the next four years in Japanese war camps, with Clinton being interned on July 8, 1944. Both of their sons, Donald, and Bruce E., were drafted to serve in the U.S. armed services.
After the conclusion of the war in 1945, they moved to Berrien Springs, Michigan, where he served as principal of the academy at Emmmanuel Missionary College, now Andrews University, for three years and then as assistant to the dean of the college for two years. They returned to the Far East in 1951, where he served as president ot the Korean Mission until his official retirement in 1957.
Wherever they served, Grace taught English classes and gave piano lessons, a practice that continued during their last stay in Korea. Additionally, she served a s cook and hostess as they opened their home to as many as eighty SDA U.S. service men for Sabbath dinners during the Korean War.
They retired to Berrien Springs, where he continued to do volunteer work in Korea and Hawaii for the church. They were living in the Berrien Springs area when Grace died on May 6, 1966, at age 72.
Clinton married Ruth K. Nelson in Riverside, California, on January 1, 1967. They moved to Berrien Springs in May and taught for a year at West Indies College in Jamaica, where he taught education and religion classes and she taught music and violin lessons. They were living in Paradise, California, when he died on August 27, 1982, at age 89.
Sources: Obituaries: Far Easter Division Outlook, September 1966, 7; Grace Mable Wright Lee obituary, Lake Union Herald, June 28 1966, 15; and Review and Herald, 21 July 1966. Lake Union Herald, 28 October 1914, 1, and 8 November 1914, 3; 1910 and 1920 U.S. Federal Census Records; Doyle-Thompson Family Tree, Ancestory.com; Michigan Death and Burial Index; Clinton W. Lee obituary, Adventist Review, November 18, 1982, 22.