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Life Story / Obituary
Deeply committed to his family and faith life, Lee Homoki will be remembered as a loving and selfless person. Born with an infectious personality, he was easily drawn toward others and would help anyone in need. Equipped with the ability to work alongside a wide variety of people over the years, led to many successes throughout his life. Although he will be deeply missed, Lee leaves behind a rich collection of wonderful memories for all who knew and loved him. His family and friends all know that we as believers “…sorrow not, even as others which have no hope…” (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
Despite the Thirties being marked by tough economic times, the decade also saw an expansion of new technologies. By 1937, Amelia Earhart took off from Miami attempting to achieve a flight around the world and California’s Golden Gate Bridge was completed. Bringing great joy to their world, Stephen Cook and Esther Marjorie (McCurdy) Homoki welcomed home their newborn son, Stephen Lee, on June 30th in Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania. Born the oldest of three children, his birth brought them many promises in an ever-changing world.
Lee’s early years were spent moving many times, always adjusting to the lifestyle around him. Lee held many wonderful memories of his childhood. Always loving and having animals, one of his fondest memories was of his first pet “Tony the Pony”. Some of Lee’s other pets throughout his life included another pony named Tumbleweed and Oink the pig. He was rarely without a pet dog – Pickup, Winnie, Fluffy, Bud, Pete, Ghost, Daisy and Sassy. Lee loved his Dogs. As a child he attended a one room school house that included all 12 grades. His mother Esther made sure that he and his siblings attended Sunday school on a regular basis. Lee often commented on the influence of his childhood Sunday school teacher Miss Cooley and the many scriptures she taught him. Other childhood memories include playing with the Birchfield kids and listening to “I’m Back in the Saddle Again” by Gene Autry on their hand cranked Victrola before bedtime.
As was customary in the day Lee and his siblings shared in the family responsibilities. He and his brother Jim would assist around the farm and stables. Lee’s father was a professional Cowboy and horse trainer. He worked with and performed in the Rodeo Circuit for many years. He was also an entertainer with several different Wild West shows and had worked as a stuntman in many silent Movies. After his dad trusted Jesus Christ as Savior at age 50, Stephen left the secular entertainment world to study for ministry through Moody Bible Institute before settling in Arizona to begin his Missionary work. Lee’s mother was a homemaker as they moved back and forth from Pennsylvania, New York, California, Wyoming, and Arizona. In the mid 50’s Lee’s father began his missionary work in Window Rock, Arizona on the Navajo Indian Reservation ministering directly to the Navajo and Hopi Indians in the “out of the way” places often having to ride in by horseback to meet them in their villages and to share with them the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Despite the many times they moved around, Lee was successful as a student. He attended Shasta High School in Shasta, California and graduated with the Class of 1955 from Ellicottville High School in New York. During his high school days he won a Yo-Yo championship and successfully competed in Golden Gloves youth boxing with his brother Jim.
At the age of 15 Lee accepted his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and began preaching at the age of 18. After high school Lee desired to further his education and pursue a career in ministry first at Rockmont College in Longmont, Colorado for a year, then Baptist Bible College in Denver for a year before finishing and graduating from Arizona Bible Institute in Phoenix, Arizona in 1960. It was while attending Arizona Bible Institute Lee met the woman of his dreams, Lois Darlene Carlson.
A romantic at heart, Lee’s heart was stolen from the moment he met his future bride. After a year and a half of dating, the happy couple joined in marriage in September of 1960 at the Palisade Methodist Church. Their lives would soon be called to support Lee in his endeavors as a pastor. His early career landed them in Window Rock, Arizona, on the same Navajo Indian reservation his father Stephen was ministering. Lee started the ministry of Truth for Youth holding Rallies every Saturday night in Window Rock for the Navajo teens and on Friday night in Gallup, New Mexico for the teens there. It was while in Window Rock Lee began working construction building houses and schools earning the role of Forman for most of the job sites. Lee and Darlene next moved to Phoenix where Lee became the Youth Pastor at Phoenix Baptist Temple for one year. Their next move was to Pomona, CA and the Pomona Valley Baptist Church for two years. Their next ministry was the Pastorate of Twin Peaks Community Church in Twin Peaks, California where he was ordained for ministry. Lee continued to work construction through these early years. It was while in Twin Peaks that he obtained his Contractors License and started his own construction business working closely with his brother Jim. It was also during this time that Lee and Darlene added two more members to their family, a son Stephen on October 5, 1965 and a daughter Cari on March 19, 1968. After five years at Twin Peaks Lee was called to full time ministry at the Gospel Lighthouse Church in Tipp City, Ohio in 1968. After nine years Lee accepted the pastorate of Berean Bible Church, in Evansville, Indiana. His ministry there lasted for four years. It was while there that Lee started his printing ministry, printing out his Bible lessons called Bible Doctrines to Live By. In 1981 Lee left Pastoral ministry to begin his Evangelistic ministry and moved his family to Grand Rapids, Michigan. There he incorporated and founded the ministry of Bible Doctrines to Live By with its two fold ministry of publications and itinerant evangelism.
For enjoyment the family treasured camping trips and visiting theme parks; Knotts Berry Farm & Disney Land in California, Kings Island in Ohio, Great America in Illinois and Walt Disney World in Florida. There were many holiday vacations to visit family in Arizona and Minnesota. Lee and his son especially enjoyed riding their dirt bikes as. From his teen years until he could no longer physically perform, Lee enjoyed working on cars. He trained and taught his son both his carpentry and mechanic knowledge working alongside each other on many projects over the years. Resourceful as well as ambitious, he modeled for his children a strong work ethic as well as sincere compassion for all people.
Lee poured himself into his daily work as well as anything he put his mind to doing. An avid writer, when Lee moved to Grand Rapids, MI he began publishing a monthly magazine, Truth of Flame, which is still being published quarterly today. Lee’s ministry and travels took him throughout many destinations within the US and around the world including England, Scotland, the Philippines, Curacao, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Zambia and Zimbabwe. During much of the early years of Lee’s evangelistic travels Darlene had to remain at home to care for their children. Darlene worked at Home Insurance as the Clerical Supervisor until 1995 when she retired and was able to travel with Lee full time. Throughout his life, Lee continued to study God’s word. He had a vast collection of theological books that he loved to immerse himself in as well as study his favorite pastors; R.B. Theme, Brian Ross, Marv Wiseman. He was immensely proud to have received an honorary Doctorate of Theology from St. Louis Theological Seminary.
From the late 1980’s he was known to many as Cowboy Lee Homoki. Taking from his early childhood life and experiences he began to incorporate western and cowboy themes into his ministry using and teaching young people the skill and art of ropes and whips often using these tools to teach and illustrate Gospel Truths. His travels then included many youth rallies, Vacation Bible Schools and Cowboy Lee’s Cowboy Adventure Camps. He shared his love of music with the students by playing his acoustic guitar and singing many of his favorite Gospel Songs. Lee also had a small collection of guitars and was very fond of the country music of Chet Atkins and Mel Travis. He was also a longtime fan of Elvis Presley and loved the music of Gaithers.
Starting in 2013 Lee began struggling with many health issues. He battled kidney cancer as well as heart and prostate issues yet never let his illnesses slow him down. In 2015, Lee suffered a stroke which changed much of his physical strength. His family surrounded him with their loving care when he was recently hospitalized due to his diminishing health. Lee had every reason to believe that his work here on Earth had meaning and purpose. His strong belief in Jesus Christ helped lead him home to his Savior. A reverent servant, Lee will be fondly remembered for selflessly sharing his faith and spiritual guidance with the countless lives he touched over the years. May his loved ones find comfort in the joy he brought into the hearts of so many and may his memories be eternal.
Pastor Stephen Lee Homoki, aka “Cowboy Lee,” age 82, of Grand Rapids, Michigan went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Saturday, February 15, 2020, with family and friends at his side. He is survived by his wife of fifty-nine years, Darlene Homoki, his children; Stephen Homoki and Cari (Frank) Fasano; grandchildren; Shauna Willbur, Saige Homoki, Sierra Homoki, Sydney Homoki, Stacia Fasano, Giovanni Fasano, and Chloe Fasano; five great-grandchildren; brother, Jim (Goska) Homoki; sister, Barbara (Ken) West; 2 sister-in-laws, 3 brother-in-laws; many nieces, nephews, and special friends. Lee lived his entire life sharing the Word of God as a Pastor of several churches from 1960-1981 when he transitioned to Evangelistic work as Executive Director of Bible Doctrines to Live By (BDTLB). Under his guidance and leadership BDTLB developed Bible Doctrines Publications, Cross Roads Crusades, Cowboy Camps and Back to the Future. He regularly traveled not just with in the continental US, but had occasion to travel to several destinations overseas preaching teaching and ministering to adults, young adults and children.
A service to celebrate Lee’s life will be held at Rush Creek Bible Church in Byron Center on Saturday February 29 at 2pm. Visitation will be Friday evening from 6-8pm at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home (2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504).
Contributions in his memory may be made to Bible Doctrines to Live By or Grace Life Bible Church. To sign his guest book and to leave your own memory of him, visit his web page at www.heritagelifestory.com