Delaware Tech inducts Butch Lee into Owens Campus Hall of Fame
Ralph “Butch” Lee, former custodian and bookstore clerk for Delaware Technical Community College, was inducted in the Owens Campus Hall of Fame Friday, April 4.
The honor was bestowed in recognition of Lee’s 31 years at Delaware Tech and his legacy of excellence that continues to positively affect students, faculty and staff at the college as well as in the community.
His unwavering commitment to student success at the college began in 1975, when he started as a custodian and continued through his tenure in the bookstore until he retired in 2006.
Ralph "Butch" H. Lee was born July 24, 1944, in Philadelphia and moved to Sussex County when he was a young child. Upon his graduation from William C. Jason High School in 1962, he studied at Delaware State University until 1964, when he left college to work for E.I. DuPont de Nemours Company.
In 1965, Lee also began his career in the Delaware National Guard, where he served 35 years, 3 months and 23 days, retiring as a sergeant major. His many awards, honors, and achievements included being inducted into the Delaware National Guard Noncommissioned Officer Hall of Fame.
Lee began his career at Delaware Tech in 1975 in the Maintenance Custodial Department. “I had the honor of working with one of the greatest teams any organization could have, where the standards were set high by our leadership coming from the campus director, Jack Owens, and by our self-imposed desire to always upgrade our campus,” said Lee. “We wanted to not only be recognized as the campus that set the standard for Delaware Tech, but for colleges throughout the United States. We even had teams visit from other countries to work with us and learn how to better their standards and products.”
As time passed, Lee became a bookstore clerk and was an avid listener for students, faculty, and staff. He also served as a local historian, letting others know his pride in being a William C. Jason High School Pioneer. According to Lee, “A great soldier once said, ‘If you don’t know where you’ve been, you can’t know where you’re going.’” Upon his retirement in 2006, he asserted that being a Delaware Tech employee was one of the most rewarding job experiences he could have ever had.
Retirement didn’t slow him down, though. He has been an active volunteer at his church, painting the sanctuary, working on landscaping projects, and starting a hospitality team with his wife, Pat, and friend, Reggie. He also took on some jobs in retirement, working for the Bethany Beach Training Site (his last duty station in the National Guard), the Seaford Public Library, and a company that transports people to medical appointments. But he finally left his retirement jobs to enjoy more time with family and friends.
He has been married to his high school sweetheart, Anna E.P. (Pat) Ward, since June 22, 1968. She was voted by her peers as Miss Pioneer, and the Lees say that their years at William C. Jason High School represented some of their greatest learning experiences. They are the proud parents of two children, Ralph Christopher Lee and Nikko Louise Lee, as well as their daughter-in-law, Sonice Lee, and feel very blessed to be grandparents of Davahn, Aniyah, D’Andre, and Natazha.