By Dave Woods
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Col. Lee Sexton (Ret), age 90, of Joplin, passed away on Thursday, July 4, 2013, at his home with loved ones.
Born Dec. 7, 1922, in Spring City, Mo., he was the son of the late Walter and Mary Alice Hunt Sexton. He was raised in Spring City and attended school there. He left school during his high school years and joined the Civilian Conservation Corps in Roaring River State Park and later at Pershing State Park at Laclede, Mo. After 18 months he left CCC and returned home, joining the US Army on Mar. 4, 1941. Before going overseas he was stationed at Ft. Warren, Wyo., Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., at Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo. and the Army Desert Training Center in the California Desert. He was later sent to the South Pacific Theater of Operations with the 20th Infantry 6th Infantry Division. He first saw duty on Island Defense with his unit in Hawaii, later serving 18 months on New Guinea, where he participated in two amphibious landings against the Japanese. Later, while en route to take part in the landing at Languan Gulf on the island of Luzon in the Philippines; the ship he was riding was hit by a Japanese suicide plane. He participated in the landing and was still actively engaged in combat with the Japanese when the war was over. While serving there, he was awarded a Battlefield Commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. After World War II, he went to Korea with Occupation forces serving there until his return to the states. After a short break in service he was assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division at Ft. Lewis, Wash., then returning to Korea in 1950. After a tour of duty in Korea, he returned to the states and was instructor at the Military Police School, serving there until deciding to take a break from the service. When he returned he went to Europe and was stationed with the Military Police in Germany for four years. He went directly to Vietnam for a one-year tour, serving with the Military Police and the Army Criminal Investigation Command Unit. Upon returning to the United States he was assigned to Washington, DC with the Criminal Investigation Command.
He retired from the Army at Ft. Lewis, Wash., in October of 1972. Shortly after retiring he was a Realtor with the McAllister Agency, Glen White Agency and later was a Realtor and Real Estate Appraiser for the Lee Sexton Agency. Military decorations he earned include the Silver Star Medal, The Legion of Merit, The Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster and two V devices for valor, Bronze Star Medal, Bronze Star Medal with second oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star Medal with third oak leaf cluster, the Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Asia Pacific Theater of Operations Medal, The American Theater Medal, the Army Occupation Medal, the Philippine Liberation Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Services Medal, Purple Heart, Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster and Combat Infantry Badge.
Lee was a member of First Presbyterian Church, Masonic Lodge, Scottish Rite Bodies, Shrine Temple and Joplin Shrine Club.
He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend.
He married Carolyn M. McCoy on June 24, 1951. She preceded him in death on Sept. 19, 1999. He was also preceded in death by brothers, David Sexton, Jim Sexton; sisters, Viola Lawson, Retha Meyers and Betty Allen.
Survivors include a son, Thomas Sexton, PhD and wife, Astrid, of Bloomington, Ind.; daughters, Sandy Snowden and husband, Gerald, of Sarcoxie, Mo., Cathy Moult and husband, Grant, of Brentwood, Tenn., Susan Duncan and husband, Scott, of Olympia, Wash.; grandchildren, Matthew Sexton, Evi Stam, Rosa Stam, Bob Snowden, Ginny Payne, Adam Moult, Ryan Moult and Paul Duncan; great-grandchildren, Tresten Shipman, Gavin Payne and Violet Snowden. His daughters Mark Schmidt and Lea Sexton reside in Henderson, Nev.
Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. Tuesday at Parker Chapel. The family will receive friends from 10 a.m. Tuesday until service time. Interment with Military Honors will follow at Hornet Cemetery. Grandsons and Sons-in-law will serve as pallbearers.
Memorial contributions may be made to Avalon Hospice of Mercy Health Systems in care of the mortuary.
The family would like to express their very sincere appreciation to his in-home caregivers, Kandance Eck and Karon Galindo, Dr. Mollie James, Mercy Hospital in Joplin, Avalon Hospice and a special thanks to our hospice nurse, Sara Heistand.