Alabama Academy of Honor


James Coleman Lee, Jr.

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 1987 and 2009.



James Coleman Lee, Jr. was born in Birmingham, Alabama, where he attended the grammar and high schools of that city. His college education was acquired at Auburn University and Birmingham-Southern College.

Mr. Lee was married to Rose Marie Rezzonico Lee and was the father of three children: James C. Lee, III, Peyton Lee and Donaldson B. Lee.

James C. Lee, Jr. was Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Buffalo Rock Company. This firm operates ten bottling plants in three states. He was the third generation in his family to head Buffalo Rock Company. He received a number of prestigious awards. He was elected President of the Pepsi Cola Bottlers' Association and in 1978 he was selected National Beverage Industry Man of the Year.

Mr. Lee served in the United States Air Force during World War II, 1943-1946.

Mr. James C. Lee, Jr. was a devoted civic worker believing that a business should serve the community. He constantly worked to promote prosperity and growth throughout the state.

Mr. Lee spent time working toward good relations among all groups of citizens regardless of ethnic background. In 1983, he was appointed by Governor George C. Wallace on a Task Force for Economic Development of Alabama.

Mr. Lee was an active supporter of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He served as chairman of the Presidents Council of that institution of higher learning, 1981-1985.

Mr. Lee was a member of South Highland Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

James C. Lee, Jr. was a member of the Board of Trustees of Birmingham-Southern College and a member of the Board of Directors of Central Bank of the South.

In 1984, the University of Alabama at Birmingham awarded James C. Lee, Jr. an honorary Doctor of Law Degree.

Mr. Lee died on February 28, 2009.