In tribute: Farmer remembered as family man

Argen Duncan

Wesley Houston Lee was a quiet man who loved his children, grandchildren and agriculture and didn’t believe in quitting, his family said.

Houston Lee, 74, of Floyd, died Sept. 12.

Houston’s daughter Felecia Harvey said one of her favorite things to do was bring children to her parents’ farm during the harvest. Her father, a lifelong farmer, always had time to show them around, Felecia said.

Houston’s favorite thing was giving his grandchildren their first ride on a tractor.

“He loved what he did, and that was farming,” Felecia said, adding that he liked to share agriculture as well.

“He farmed from the gut,” she said.

Felecia’s brother Cress Lee said their father bought two or three parcels of land most people wouldn’t have wanted and rehabilitated it into productive farmland.

“You got to take care of the land for it to take care of you,” said Houston’s wife, Mary, recalling his motto.

Houston and Mary met when they were in junior high school in Portales. They married and moved to the Floyd area in 1955, and Houston was a member of the volunteer Floyd Fire Department from then on. He served several terms as chief.

Houston’s son Bruce Lee said his father was dedicated to helping the public when they needed assistance in a high-risk situation.

Mary said her husband trained high school boys to be firefighters, and all four of their sons have been involved in the fire department at some point.

Cress recalled going out to fight fires several Christmas Eves in a row. Mary said her husband handled two “nightmare” calls in which children died, and he dealt with them not nonchalantly, but as part of the job.

Felecia said Houston lived a life of service with the fire department, the Lions Club and many helping hands to stranded motorists.

As another memory, Felecia and Bruce recalled the time a turkey chased one of Houston’s granddaughters, all dolled up to go to town, around the yard. Having no convenient weapon besides a five-gallon metal bucket, Houston hit the turkey with the bucket, killing the bird on the spot.

Then, the turkey had to be cleaned and dressed before the family could go to town, the siblings said, laughing.

Also, Felecia said she heard someone call Houston a “100 percenter” because he was there 100 percent of the time and did the job.

“That’s just what we did,” she said.

Cress said when he was in trouble with his father, it was because he tried to take a short cut and still do the task right.

As a father of six, Mary said, their children meant a lot to Houston, and he was strict with them to teach them to do right and do things well.

Felecia agreed.

“You knew he loved you, and you knew he expected you to get it done,” she said.