Lee was known as "Mr. AAPA" for over sixty years due to his involvement in association affairs. Here's how he described himself in November 2005:
I joined AAPA in 1942, one of several Florida "boy editors" publishing local newspapers. The Flint Lake Diver was soon supplanted by The Gator Growl, which has been appearing in AAPA bundles spasmodically ever since.
I became official editor in 1946, when I was a senior in high school, and president in 1949, when I was a senior at the University of Florida. I attended my first AAPA "convention" (it was held jointly with another group, now defunct) and have attended more than 50 since then.
I remember making a brief talk at the 1947 Roanoke convention and saying, "Amateur journalism has become a part of my life." And it has, even though I went on to spend 55 years as a professional newspaper writer.
The history of the hobby always has fascinated me, and I have accumulated several thousand amateur journals -- some dating back to the 1870s -- through the years. If I can ever get them organized to some extent, they will be donated to the special collections library at the University of South Florida.
The Gator Growl has evolved from a one-page mimeographed journal into a sometimes hefty printed journal. Issue No. 102 appeared in October, and I'm hopeful it will appear more regularly henceforth.
The current term will be my fourth stint as AAPA president.
On their website, The Fossils, the historians of amateur journalism, has a page about Lee, winner of that group's 1981 Gold Composing Stick and 2003 Russell L. Paxton Award. They also produced a special issue of The Fossil (issue 356 for June 2013) in memory of Lee.
When Lee died on May 18, 2013, his loss was felt not only in the fraternity of amateur journalism but also throughout the Tampa Bay Area. He was remembered as a talented newspaper professional, Tampa's unofficial historian, and a true gentleman. Here are some links to articles written about him:
The Tampa Tribune, where Lee worked for 52 years, wrote several articles related to Lee:
The main obituary: Hawes was consummate journalist, gentleman
An editorial: The gentleman in the newsroom
An account of his memorial service: Stories recount life of Tampa journalist Leland Hawes
A tribute from a former Tampa mayor: The lasting gift of Leland Hawes
Columnist Steve Otto reminisces: Traveling with Leland Hawes was trip for the ages
Back in 2009, Steve Otto reported on Lee's 80th birthday: The man from Flint Lake
His obituary from the funeral home: Leland M. Hawes Jr.
Several of Lee's "History & Heritage" columns are available on-line:
How a birthday cake provided Arcadia a name , September 23, 1990
B-17 crashed in West Tampa, Bomber plowed into street in '44 , September 19, 1993
A Streetcar Named Nostalgia , July 7, 2002
The Tampa Bay History Center offers an annual Leland Hawes Prize in Florida History
In 2002, Lee was interviewed by the University of Florida's Florida Newspapers Oral History Collection
Amateur journalism is a unique activity. Amateur journalists publish journals on paper & online & come from many perspectives: from deluxe letterpress printed journals, to Xeroxed newsletters, to artistically designed cards and ephemera. We embrace the spirit of being amateurs – loving what we do for pure joy and not financial gain – while creating top quality journals, zines, and homemade publications.