Aurora High School graduate turned banker John Paul Lee had several role models growing up in Aurora, Missouri. One, his father John Jay Lee, another well-known Aurora banker, made a huge impact in the type of person he wanted to grow up to be.
“When I was little, I was always amazed at how many people Dad knew. Dad treated everyone the same -- whether they had one dollar or a million dollars. He made you feel like you were important. He treated you with respect and kindness,” Lee stated, adding that everywhere the family went, people always wanted to talk to his dad. His father always took the time to do just that.
“I didn’t really realize how many people Dad impacted until he passed,” Lee stated. His father was active in a variety of Aurora programs, projects and organizations. A graduate of Verona High School, John Jay Lee died in 2009. He was a Community Service Award winner -- honored by the Aurora Chamber of Commerce -- and according to reports, “never met a stranger.” He was involved in a variety of banking ventures and was serving as president of First Independent Bank of Aurora at the time of his death.
Lee has been with Community National Bank for 10 years and at the Aurora Branch since 2010. His title is assistant vice president. Earlier this month, he completed his year-long tenure as president of the Aurora Rotary Club, one of the town’s oldest civic organizations. Incoming president Jake McCully, another AHS graduate, credited his friend with continuing the Lee legacy when he presented him with his gavel and plaque in appreciation for a job well done.
“JP loves being a Houn' Dawg, and he never misses an opportunity to support something good. . . Thanks for your service, John Paul. We are all extremely proud of what you do for Rotary, the Aurora School District and the community. I am honored to follow in your footsteps and in the footsteps of others in this room who love our town,” stated McCully on July 11 on behalf of the Aurora Rotary Club.
Highlights of Lee’s Rotary run include the club’s donations to the Aurora Beautification Committee, awarding scholarships to deserving seniors, sending delegates to Boys State, Girls State and RYLA, making Bob Journagan laugh a few times at his weekly jokes and “sitting in the back of the room watching Pete Young’s bachelor party unfold” just a few weeks ago. The club also hosted its 20th Annual Aurora Rotary Chili Supper and raised over $1,000 for its coffers. Lee also has a few other civic projects in the works. He tries to balance his life with work, service and family time.
Lee says the local Rotary Club is a tightknit group, focused on making Aurora and the surrounding area a better place to live, work and play. One of the fun things he added to the weekly protocol list this past year was humor. Just like his father, he likes to laugh.
Lee is also active on the local Mercy Hospital Board of Directors and has a spot on the West Region Board, as well. He serves on the Aurora Economic Development Committee and actively supports a wide range of school-sponsored organizations, events and activities.
He is quick to credit his family with its unwavering love and support. His mother, Debbie Lee, was a teacher for Aurora Schools. He is married to Joy (Noll) Lee and has four children: John Dakota, 18, who will be a senior this year at AHS; Jay, 15, who is a sophomore; Jacey, 11, a sixth grader; and Jaxton, 8, who will be entering the second grade.