Lee Colwell


Lee Colwell, a giant among men, passed away on January 16, 2021, from complications following a fall. He died as he lived, quietly commanding respect and showing strength while treating everyone around him with equality, affection, honesty, kindness, and love.

Lee was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, on April 6, 1934. He learned the value of work early in life, having two paper routes, ushering at a movie theater, and anything else to help support his mother, grandmother, and two siblings.

As a young man, he joined the FBI as an agent. Over the years, he worked his way up, living all over the country, and traveling to many other countries as his job required. In 1975, Lee was made Associate Director, the number 2 position in the FBI, and held that post until his retirement in 1985. Having been widowed in 1980, he met Barbara, and they were married in 1984 in Washington, D.C. Following his retirement, they moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, where they lived happily for 30 years. True to his nature, he never stopped working. Always an avid supporter of law enforcement, Lee remained involved for all of the ensuing years. He taught at the University of Arkansas while also working for the Justice Department, traveling to Central and South America often, in an effort to support and re-organize their justice systems. In Little Rock, Lee established the Criminal Justice Institute and, The National Center for Rural Law Enforcement. He later founded Pegasus Research Institute, an information-sharing system for law enforcement, first responders, etc. Along the way, he earned a doctorate and studied and became certified in Financial Management.

He was predeceased by his father and mother, Doyle and Lettie Wait Colwell; his first wife, Marilyn; two children, Dr. Karen Colwell and Paul Colwell, and his sister, Jean Edmondson.

He is survived by his devoted wife, Barbara; brother and sister in law, James and Nancy Colwell; daughters, Laurie Keyton and Alison Baxter; grandchildren Susannah Miller, Erin Bovat, Kathryn Bovat, Dr. James Henry, Mark Henry; 9 great-grandchildren, and many much-loved nieces, nephews, and cousins. He also leaves behind a host of friends, many of whom attribute their success to his example and leadership, and who refer to him as the best man I ever knew. The world is a better place because He was here, and he will be sorely missed.

Due to the pandemic, there will be no service, but our wish is that you will celebrate his life in your own way.

Donations may be made to The Nassau County Council on Aging, 1901 Island Walkway, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034, or to the Alzheimer's Association.