Virgil L. Jennings Jr. (Lee), loving husband, father and grandfather, passed away June 18 at the age of 70, in Thayne, from complications of COPD and pneumonia. His family provided the following.
Lee was born on Nov. 6, 1950, in Cody to Virgil L. Jennings Sr. and Patricia Mae (St. John) Jennings. He had an older brother, Terry, and was followed by a younger brother, Dennis, and a sister, Ranae.
The family moved to Jackson in 1955 and Lee spent a happy and memorable childhood on the Riverview Ranch, down Fall Creek in Wilson, where his dad was the ranch foreman.
Lee attended Wilson Elementary School when it was a three-room school house, grades 1-2, 3-4 and 5-6 each in different rooms. He always said his first love was his first-grade teacher, Miss Casebeer. He was a Jackson-Wilson football letterman and took joy in being one of the first teams to beat rival Star Valley, in 1968, for the first time in nearly 40 years. 1969 was a big year for Lee: He graduated from JWHS, married Emily Hufsmith, started a career with Mountain Bell and had their first son, Eric. Four years later, in 1973, son Paul was born. Lee and Emily later divorced.
On Friday, July 13, 1979, (yes, Friday the thirteenth) Lee and Angie Radford met on a Friday night out in Jackson at the Rancher Bar. They made plans to go to Jackson Lake together the next day and the rest is history. After a quick romance they were head over heels in love and married on Jan. 12, 1980. Together they had two daughters: Lisa, born in June 1981, and Teri in May 1983.
In 1989 Lee was notified of some amazing news: He had a daughter, April, who was born in 1969. She quickly became Lee and Angie’s fifth child, and the kids had a new big sister. She is a wonderful addition to the family.
Lee’s career with Mountain Bell spanned 17 years with positions ranging from lineman, installer, foreman, manager and regional manager. He was proud inn 1979 to be promoted as the youngest Mountain Bell manager ever at that time. His final position was strategic planner for US West in Denver, and he was traveling the entire Rockies and Midwest. He decided his Bell System career was over when they wanted to transfer him to New York City.
The family ultimately moved back to Jackson, where Lee started working construction with his father-in-law, Lyal Radford, at Continental Construction. Lee and Angie moved to Thayne in 1991 and spent the last 31 years there. He was a quick study and continued to work construction until he retired in 2013. His last job was as the resident carpenter at the Four Seasons Resort at Teton Village.
Lee served on the volunteer fire departments in Riverton, Green River and Greybull. Over the years he was a member of chambers of commerce, Rotary, Elks and Lions clubs, and at one time served as the vice president of the Wyoming AFL-CIO.
Lee loved the outdoors, he and Angie hunted, fished, golfed, boated and traveled. They went to many fun and faraway places, but some of their happiest times were weekends on the lake and the last two winters of snow birding and traveling across the U.S.
Lee’s most valued treasures were his children and grandchildren. He was so proud of each and every one of them, although they will be the first to say he was the biggest tease in their lives.
Lee will probably be most remembered by his family and friends for his humor, his quick wit, his hearty laugh, and his love for making others laugh. And, that when he loved, he loved with his whole heart!
Lee was preceded in death by his parents, Virgil Sr. and Pat, brother Terry and his step-father, Jay Hess. He is survived by his wife, Angie; children, April (Mike) McMullan, Eric, Paul, Lisa (Cody) Crocker, and Teri Jennings; grandchildren Scott, Joe (Rachael), Tylor (Stacia), Brady, Colin, Madi, Chase, Parker, Aspen, Grace and Skylar; great grandchildren James, Nollie and Emery; his brother, Dennis (Patee); his sister, Ranae (Rick) Johnson; and mother-in-law Virginia Radford. And by too many beloved aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and friends to number.
Lee requested no services. The immediate family will be gathering later in the summer to spread his ashes in a few of his favorite spots.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Thayne Wyoming EMS or Thayne Wyoming Volunteer Fire Department.