LEE BLOUNT, JR., M.D. was born in Cleveland, Ohio on August 14, 1932 to parents Verlerion and Effie Blount. He was the second eldest of five children and grew up in segregated north St. Louis, Missouri. To overcome poverty, he strove for excellence not only in academics, but also in sports. He attended Vashon High School where he was a top track star. He chose to obtain his undergraduate degree at Saint Louis University and attained his ultimate goal of becoming a physician by graduating from Howard University Medical School in 1958. There, he met and married Mae Ellen Smith. He returned to St. Louis to complete a surgical residency at Homer G. Phillips Hospital and embarked on a successful thirty-year career as a general surgeon. During the Vietnam War, he was stationed at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, as a captain. One of his proudest deeds there was saving the life of a soldier whose throat was pierced by a bolt thrown from a lawnmower.
In St. Louis, he was a leader in the civil rights movement giving of his time and money. In the mid-1960s, the Blount family was the first Black family to integrate the wealthy suburb of Ladue where they endured years of prejudice and discrimination. At the Reverend Martin Luther King's funeral procession, he marched alongside Robert Kennedy, just prior to his assassination. One night, he was called on to remove a bullet from a Black Panther who had been shot.
Dr. Blount also was a sports fan, involved in coaching and later revived his desire to excel in track and field. He initially was the tennis coach to his oldest four children, all of whom won the St. Louis District Tennis Championship in the 12-and-under category. His eldest child, Renee Blount became a professional tennis player and the first Black woman to win a WTA Championship. In his 50s, he enjoyed competing in marathons, 400 K, and other track events. In fact, he was the fastest runner in St. Louis in his age group. In 1983, he won the bronze medal in the 400 K's SO-year-old age group at the international World Masters Athletic Championship in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Dr. Blount was also a writer. He spent countless hours on his manuscript based on running the Boston Marathon. After retiring from his surgery practice, he pursued wellness and fitness training and worked as a rehabilitation coordinator/specialist. He attended Cote Brilliante Presbyterian Church for over a decade and he thoroughly enjoyed teaching Sunday school.
Dr. Blount was social, well cultured, and enjoyed a wide circle of friends. He had a passion for the arts, languages, books, and music. He liked attending art exhibits and book signings and would often gift family and friends inscribed books. It was his way of encouraging the youth to read, supporting Black authors, and in turn giving back to a community for which he held an undying love. In line with his love of languages, he spent a great deal of time teaching himself Swahili, Yoruba, French, Spanish, and even a little Hebrew. He would often teach those around him a broken word or two. Dr. Blount was a supportive, gentle, and kind soul. He was known to leave long voicemail messages reminding you to "drink your water" and to remember "every day is a blessing." Countless times former patients would approach him and share detailed stories of how Dr. Blount had literally saved their lives with this or that surgery procedure. He would humbly brush it off with a big smile and say in that unique way he elongated the word, "no-0-0-0-0-0." Long after he retired from his medical practice, he retained compassionate bedside manners and visited with friends and family in the hospital. He was doing rounds long after he was off the schedule. It is impossible to sum up such a full life, but he will undoubtedly be missed and remembered fondly by those who were blessed to know him.
He was predeceased by his parents, younger brother, Raymond Blount, younger sister, Annette Lambert, former wife, Mae Blount, and daughter, Kaye Blount. He is survived by his sister, Ardella Buren; brother, Frederick Blount (Delores) and their daughters, Danielle and Michelle; daughters, Renee, Melissa and Colette Blount; and sons, Lee Blount III and Rameses Blount; granddaughter, Josephine Blount; and other family members, Sharon Jones, Gail Hill, Dr. Anthony Buren M.D. (Mary), Biliary, Francis, Henry; as well as extended family, Jeanie Hughes, Lekitta Hughes, Monica Hughes, Lamont Hughes; best friend and brother, Donald Suggs; companion, Olverne Lanier, Goddaughters, Marisa Lanier, Shellie Lanier-Ferguson (Ray); and close friend and sister, Lorraine Merchant.
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