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Lem D. Sugg


No. 2012712 September 1931 11 April 2014          

Died: San Antonio, TX

Interred: Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio, TX


Lem Davis Sugg Jr. was born to Lem and Ailene Sugg in Fayetteville, TN. Growing up in a small town with limited job opportunities, Lem knew he had to study and work hard to pave his way to a better future. Lem graduated from Central High School in 1949, then attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. Lem received a congressional appointment to the United States Military Academy from Representative Joe L. Evins of the 5th District of Tennessee.

On July 5, 1950, Lem reported to West Point and was rapidly introduced to his new home, Beast Barracks. For two months, Lem was militarized into a West Point plebe. After Beast Barracks, Lem reported to H-2, his cadet company for the next four years. In his spare time, he participated in the French Club for three years, the German Club for three years, and the Dialectic Society for three years. Lem found out that designing, building and painting scenery for the dramatic society as a stage hand had its perks, namely trips to New York City with the group to see and learn how top theaters operate back stage.

As a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force, Lem married Martha Joel ‘Jo’ Tate on June 10, 1954 in the Cadet Chapel at West Point, NY.

After his first eight years of service, Lem began a career operating at the upper echelons of the Air Force in management engineering roles. He served at Headquarters SAC from 1961 to 1964, receiving a Commendation Medal. He attended the Air Command and Staff College in 1964 and was appointed Chief of the SAC Management Engineering Team from 1965 to 1967. He deployed to Japan, where he was Chief of the Management Engineering Team Japan from 1967 to 1970. Lem then moved to Scott Air Force Base (AFB), IL to serve on the staff of the Military Airlift Command from 1971 to 1974. This was followed by three years at HQ Air Force, Office of Personnel Development from 1974 to 1976. His final posting was as Vice Commander of the Department of the Air Force, Management Engineering Team from 1976 to 1980.

In his last 20 years of active service, Lem operated at the highest levels of the Air Force, bringing focus and success to a critical function. Lem’s military career was highlighted by several awards and recognitions, including the Air Force Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Meritorious Service Medal (with the Fifth Air Force, Fuchu, Japan), and the Legion of Merit (presented upon completion of 26 years of service).

Lem retired in 1980 and became progressively involved in the Episcopal Church and the community. He refocused his career direction and began to pursue educational development with United San Antonio, studying education issues, learning grantsmanship, and laying the groundwork for collaborations that would strengthen the company. Through the 1980s, Lem worked to bring the public and private sectors together to improve education. One effort toward this endeavor was a push to establish a collaborative science project funded by the Carnegie Corporation.

Lem served as the Director, Alliance for Education at the University of Texas in San Antonio from 1982 to 1993. In this role, he helped address education reform at the local, state, and national level. The Alliance for Education was created through “Project 2061: Science for all Americans,” funded by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. This project was part of a major national initiative to develop new benchmarks for teaching math and science by studying the way in which children learned in those fields.

“I place great value on education and what it can do for the upward mobility of an individual and a society,” Lem once said, “All that I am, I became through education.”

Lem lived his final years at the Army Residence Community in San Antonio battling a difficult health situation.

He is survived by his wife, Martha Joel, and four children: William Turney, Russell Davis, Peter Lemuel, and Margaret Jolene Ford. A memorial service was held on April 21, 2014 at the Army Residence Community and interment with Full Military Honors took place in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.

We are grateful for, and will remember always, your great service in preserving our country’s freedoms. May you rest in peace knowing that you truly embodied the ideals of “Duty, Honor, Country.”

— Family members and H-2 Companymate


Published in TAPS, Summer 2016

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