What a lovely tribute Bud Lee's children offered at his recent Memorial Service. All of the speakers gave little mention of Bud's extraordinary career or life achievements, but much mention of his large personality and the exuberant love and life he shared with his children.
Two of Bud's children spoke, but all four were there along with his grandchildren. Bud's son told of his childhood memories, Bud's way with a paint can and how Bud's voice followed him to college. He described Bud's long messages on his answering machine, some filing the entire tape. Bud's daughter shared personal cards he sent her in college - cards created by Bud and found the day after he died. Some were about faith, some shared humorous observations about men. Bud was able to convey in a few words and images thoughts to last a lifetime.
Each of his children gave the impression that nothing had been left unsaid, no words or love left unshared. Both ended with remarks of how grateful or happy they are with the way they were raised and the love they were given.
Bud's memorial service ended with several of his friends singing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow". Perfect.
With Bud's outstanding career, I wondered why no mention in the New York Times, Rolling Stone or any other major publication where his photographs were once shown.
But what does that matter when your children give offer a tribute like the one Bud received.
Still, Bud Lee had a career worth mentioning. Here are some highlights: Bud started his professional career as a photographer for the U.S. Army publication, Stars and Stripes. After being named the 1966 U.S. Military photographer of the year, Bud began working for LIFE Magazine, his coverage of the Newark riots garnering him two covers and the publication’s prestigious Photographer of the Year award in 1967. In the ensuing years, Bud traveled the world as an in-demand freelance photographer for Esquire, Rolling Stone, Harper's Bazaar, the New York Times, Town & Country, the London Times, Vogue, Mother Jones, Ms. Magazine, London Records, and Columbia Records. In 1972, Bud founded the Iowa Photographers' Workshop and helmed the University of Iowa Journalism School’s photography department. With grant support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Bud began the Artist-Filmmaker-in-the-Schools program in Tampa where he also established the Artist and Writers Trust and the Florida Photographer's Workshop, and co-founded the annual Artists and Writers Ball in Tampa.