Obituaries for June 24, 2011

By Baker City Herald June 24, 2011 05:46 pm

Lee Givens
Lee Merritt Givens, 64, of Molalla, and a former Baker City resident, died April 17, 2011, at his home.
Private memorial graveside services was May 30 at Pine Grove Cemetery in Halsey.

Lee was born June 1, 1946, at Baker City and raised here. He attended elementary, junior high and senior high in Baker City, graduating with the Class of 1964.

After high school he entered the Navy following the tradition of his father.  Lee served on destroyers and for a short time on a carrier.  When he was injured Lee was forced to leave with an honorable discharge.   

Sometime after Lee left the Navy, he ventured to Las Vegas, where he wanted to try his skills at cooking.  He was hired as a fry cook for MGM Grand. One morning around 2 a.m. Lee received a call from a man requesting a hamburger to be sent to his room.  About a half hour later he answered a call requesting to see him in the kitchen.  Shortly after, the man entered the kitchen to personally thank him for the best hamburger he had ever eaten. This man just happened to be none other than Elvis Presley himself.  A tip of $100 was suggested, but Lee said “No. I’m just doing my job.” Elvis told him that as long as he was performing at the MGM Lee would be his cook. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

Lee tried small engine repair for a while before finding his career.  He trained to be a long haul truck driver and later bought his own truck and was an independent driver for more than 25 years. He retired in 2009.

Growing up, Lee’s hobbies included bowling, water skiing, and camping. He was active in 4-H, learned to play the accordion and piano, and performed tap dancing routines with his sister. He also enjoyed family “get togethers” with relatives.

Lee had the challenge of dealing with arthritis most of his adult life, but accepted this crippling and painful disease with grace.  Now, he is pain-free.

He is survived by his wife, Linda Kay Givens of Molalla; his step-daughter, Melissa; four step-grandchildren; his sister and brother-in-law, Linda and Michael Moore of Boise; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond and Leenell “Dickie” Givens.