It was on this day 2017 that Lee Jurras stepped out into eternity. Those of you who are long time sixgunners know I held him in highest esteem. Lee did many things in his sojourning here. He was a lover of firearms, ammunition and all they could do.
Lee and his friend George C. Nonte, Jr. provided handgun lovers with many things in which to sink our teeth. They went to Africa hunting with handguns before such things were cool. The two of them had a long, productive friendship.
I guess the thing that impressed me most about Mr. Jurras was his work ethic. He shared a few things with me concerning the amount of personal work it took to operate Super Vel. He was surely a dedicated and motivated man.
My local gunsmith is in his 80s and personally knew another local, Luther Adkins. Luther was a machinist for Super Vel. I asked Lee about him and was told that Luther could make anything, and he would do it without Lee providing blueprints and such. “I simply told Luther what I needed, and he made it.” From the best of my knowledge most and perhaps all Super Vel ammunition was primed on a machine Luther made from scratch.
At Luther’s death, my gunsmith passed some of Luther’s tools to me and that sparked my interest in maybe collecting things of Super Vel and perhaps a personal item of Mr. Jurras’.
While operating Dry Creek Bullet Works I visited Mr. Jurras in Indiana. We ate breakfast and went to his shop. It was there I had my picture made while holding his Outstanding American Handgunner Trophy, the only one I’ve personally seen other than Mr. Keith’s.
While there I picked Lee’s mind concerning a cast lead 50 caliber rifle bullet. In the conversation he asked in what I would shoot and test them. Well I had no 50 caliber rifles, so he takes one from the wall, hands it to me and simply said “when you’re finished return it.” Such was Mr. Jurras.
Lee and I spoke quite often by phone over the years. I would call him, or he would call me. We talked shop, business, people and of course firearms. I treasure those conversations. Seems he was never in a hurry.
As Lee’s health began to fail and his shooting activities became less and less, I asked him if there were any handguns he would like to sell. He told me he might sell his carry gun, a Remington 1911. We agreed on a price and I sent him a check. It was only a few days and the pistol arrived with two initialed holsters, one belt and one shoulder. He provided me with a personal letter for the pistol. He was out of Super Vel letterhead, so he wrote on Jurras Locksmith letterhead.
I’ve shot the pistol a bit and it’s the easiest operating 1911 I’ve used. I’m sure he went through the gun or had it done. These few things of his are treasures I cherish. I sure miss him. The picture posted by Mr. Taffin (I believe) showing Lee waving farewell touched my heart. I look at it often.
When Lee passed his caretaker sent me an obituary. I keep it with the books written and signed by George C. Nonte and given to Lee. Lee signed those books and passed them to me. Looking back, he offered to sell me his rifle used at Dry Creek but I let it pass. I regret that but feel blessed to have the things I do.
Many of you know I’m a minister. I spoke to Mr. Jurras a few times about his soul. He assured me all was well between him and The Lord. I rejoice in this and the hope of the resurrection and that in it I will see him again. Happy Trails Lee and thank you for everything.