Tribute to Lee Overton

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This web page is part of a discontinued Overton Y-DNA Project website on this server that has been replaced by the FamilyTreeDNA web server.  The following data remains relevant, but you'll need to use your "Back" button on your browser to return to the Barron Y-DNA project, or click here.

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Tribute to Lee Overton

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Lee Overton (1933~2004) was the very first volunteer for this new DNA program when we initiated the call for male Overton participants in the summer of 2004.  Group projects like this are always difficult to get off the ground, especially when some level of individual effort is involved and particularly so when participants have to pony up some money on their own for the good of the group.  Mr. Overton didn't make a big deal of it, but evidently our pleas for help for the sake of common good struck a chord in him.  It really didn't seem to matter to him whether anyone else was coming in after him, Lee just wanted to do what was right.

Lee Overton's gifts of his dna sample for genealogical purposes, as well as his documented ancestral history, will enable future generations of Overton descendents to better understand their family histories.

His obituary reads:  "Alton Lee Overton, 71, of Las Vegas died Sunday in Las Vegas. He was born Jan. 24, 1933, in Alliance, Neb. A resident for 17 years, he was a service manager for Mosler Security, a retired Vietnam War Air Force master sergeant, president of the Retired Enlisted Association Chapter 84 in Las Vegas." 

To paraphrase the author of the following tribute to Lee, regardless of whether you agree with Lee's political positions, you've got to admire his patriotism.  Patriots like Mr. Overton are the backbone of this country.

(above photo of Lee and his wife Anne courtesy of Lee's son, Don.)

Alton Lee Overton's genealogy may be viewed by clicking here.

A newsman's perspective on Alton Lee Overton's life written by Ed Koch, a newsman at the Las Vegas Sun, appears below:


October 19, 2004

Las Vegan uses his final act to cast vote for Bush

By Ed Koch


Voting was a patriotic responsibility that Las Vegan Alton Lee Overton did not take lightly.

Fifty years ago, he voted for the first time when he turned 21. While serving in the Air Force in Vietnam, he voted by absentee ballot. As a Las Vegas resident of 17 years, he walked across the street from his home near Nellis Boulevard and Desert Inn Road each Election Day to vote at a school.  Diagnosed with terminal lung cancer this past summer, Overton, a Republican, was determined to vote...if it was the last thing he did.

It pretty much was.

Overton awoke Sunday and asked his wife for his mail-in ballot, filled it out, signed it, sealed it and asked a family member to immediately take it to a nearby mail box and drop it in. Six hours later, he died, three months to the day after he was diagnosed with cancer. He was 71.

Whether Overton's vote will count depends on whether or not the signature on the ballot matches the signature on his registration card at the Clark County Election Department, state voting officials said Monday.  Secretary of State's office spokesman Steve George said for the ballot to be a good one, Overton must have been alive at the time it was filled out and that the signed ballot must arrive at the Clark County Election Department by Election Day, Nov. 2.  "It is treated the same as someone voting at the polls on Election Day then getting hit and killed by a car later that day," George said.

Overton's ballot was not in Monday's incoming mail, a Clark County Election Department official said.

"I know that Dad knew that he did not have much time left, but the voting process was very important to him -- he just had to vote," said William "Bill" Overton of Las Vegas. "And he was so proud that his granddaughter Anne just turned 18 and plans to vote for the first time in November."  While Overton had voted by absentee ballot while he was overseas more than 30 years ago, he was not aware that a Las Vegas resident could vote by absentee ballot while living in Las Vegas until another of his sons, Donald Overton of California, informed him of it recently.  "He still thought he would make it to the November election, but, just in case, I sent in for an absentee ballot for him," Donald said. "Fortunately it arrived late last week."

Gertrude Anne Overton, Alton's high school sweetheart and wife of 54 years, said that as a teenager, Alton often said he could not wait until he turned 21 so he could cast his first ballot, and he never lost his passion for voting.  "It was his last wish to vote in this election," she said. "When he fulfilled that final wish yesterday, you could see it was such a great weight off of him. He died peacefully in his sleep."

Overton's sons said they were impressed that some of their father's final thoughts were of doing his civic duty, even though he knew he would not live to see the outcome of his action nor benefit from it.  Although Alton Overton had no qualms about revealing to the world that he cast his last ballot for Bush, his family said he took to his grave his selections on the on the rest of his ballot.