TV Personality Lee Woodward Buried in HANA Cemetery

Lee Woodward Headstone

I previously reported that Morgan Woodward was buried in the old Arlington Cemetery on June 15.  On that same day, his younger brother Lee’s ashes were also buried in the McKinley family plot.  Lee died two years ago, but I suppose the family, on learning of Morgan’s arrangements, decided that they would like to make Arlington his final resting place, too.  So on June 15 both brothers were interred in the family plot, one on each side of their grandparents.

As you can see in the picture of his headstone above, Lee’s full name was Coulter Lee Woodward.  He was always called by his middle name, however.  There was a Coulter drugstore in Arlington in the early days, and there may have been some family link.

Lee was the youngest of the five brothers, born in 1931, and many Arlington old-timers remember him well.   While young, he worked at several local radio stations as an announcer.  He married a local girl, Amelia Merritt, and they moved to Tulsa, where he became a local TV personality.  He eventually began using a hand puppet lion he called King Lionel, developed some skill as a ventriloquist, and at the height of his popularity gave the weather report and made off the cuff remarks about news items in the persona of King Lionel.  Samples of his work are available online.

Here are two sources:

Eventually Lee’s TV career ended as networks took more control of local TV stations and professional meteorologists were hired to give the weather reports.  Cutups like Lee did not conform to the image they wished to project.  He continued to live in Tulsa, however, and prospered in other work.  He and Amelia raised their family there, and that is where he died.

Dr. Valin Woodward and Mrs, Frances Woodward produced five sons and no daughters,  In order of birth they were:
1.
Valin Ridge, named for his father. He joined the Army Air Corps in World War II as a pilot and stayed on to retire as a colonel in the U.S. Air Force.
2.
Stanley. He followed in his father’s footsteps and became a medical doctor, practicing in New Braunfels.
3. Thomas Morgan. Known as Tommy as a boy, later chose to use his middle name in his profession as a movie and TV actor.
4. Lewis. Earned a doctorate in musical arts from U.T. Austin, taught music at several Texas colleges before moving to Modesto California, where he became head of the voice department at Modesto Junior College.
5. Coulter Lee, always called “Lee”. Became a popular figure on TV in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with his hand puppet, King Lionel.

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