Lee leaves Southern

Gerald Lee, supervisor of custodians, will be retiring after 15 years of service at Missouri Southern. Darren Helms will fill the position upon Lee’s departure.

“Gerald is one of the best custodians I’ve ever had,” Bob Harrington, director of the Physical Plant, said. “He has done an outstanding job over the years and will truly be missed.”

Lee started his career at Southern in Billingsly Student Center before the recreation center was built.

He was promoted to night shift supervisor after a few years and, following JoAnn Fry’s death, assumed the roles of both night and day shift supervisor.

“One of my first duties as supervisor was to move the library when they added onto the building on campus,” Lee said, laughing. “Between myself and a few other guys, we’ve moved 189,000 books at least twice.”

As supervisor, Lee has been responsible for 38 custodians across 43 buildings on campus. He has also been responsible for coordinating work for all of campus moving projects, equipment moves and set-ups for campus events such as sporting events and commencements.

After retirement, Lee plans to relocate to Olathe, Kan. to be closer to his grandchildren and continue his love for building furniture.

“It’ll be nice to take a few months off to recoup and regroup,” Lee said. “I’ll be happy when I’m fishing with my grandkids and tinkering with my furniture and cars.”

Helms began working for Southern Monday.

“He comes with a lot of management experience,” Harrington said. “He will bring a lot to the table at Southern.”

Lee is impressed with his replacement for Southern and thinks the change will go smoothly.

“I think he will be a great asset [for Southern] and a great leader,” Lee said.

“I’m really going to miss all the friends I have made here at Southern. It will be difficult to leave and I’m really going to miss this place.”