By Maria Sonnenberg, Senior Life – Apr 1, 2022
When career military people retire and embark on the second chapter of their working lives, they often choose jobs that connect somewhat with previous assignments. The case was different for retired Col. Lee Wyatt III, who opted for the world of a disc jockey.
The Indian River Colony Club resident is in high demand for the musical acumen he imparts through Lee’s Riots Dancin’ Machine, the DJ business he and wife Patricia operate. Oh, Colonel DJ is also a whiz at line dancing, which he teaches at IRCC as well as at Faith Viera Lutheran Church.
So how does an Army colonel with a Ph.D. in history become a DJ/dance master? It’s a long story.
A native of Mississippi, Wyatt entered the military through ROTC at Mississippi State. His father was in the Army Air Force during World War II and his maternal uncle served under Gen. George S. Patton, so the family had an affinity for service.
He was fortunate enough that the Vietnam War was winding down just as his military career was gearing up, and Wyatt was granted a deferment to earn a doctorate in history.
His assignments took him to Europe and the Pentagon, and eventually to West Point, where he became a permanent professor in the Department of History.
“I retired as deputy head of the history department,” he said.
The multi-talented Wyatt also was an author, penning a history of the Industrial Revolution for Greenwood Press’ series on major issues in western civilization.
So, where does all that dancing and music come in?
His wise mother, who would go dancing with Wyatt’s dad every weekend, enrolled him in dancing classes at age 12.
“She said I would never regret it,” said Wyatt, who at first grumbled about the lessons, but later realized how being a good dancer provided serious bonus points with the ladies.
During his years at West Point, Wyatt had made friends with a fellow who ran a DJ party business as a sideline and he often pitched in if the man wanted to do a bit of dancing himself. When the friend left the business, everyone, except maybe Wyatt, knew who should replace him.
“The officers said to me, “Sir, you’ve got to do it,” he recounted.
In his heyday, Wyatt would DJ as many as two to three events a weekend, Patricia by his side.
“Pat would run the equipment and I would emcee,” said Wyatt, who added that the gigs helped to pay for the house he bought at IRCC in 1998.
Being a DJ was just one of Wyatt’s endeavors. After retiring from the military, he taught history at Eastern Florida State College before finally retiring for good in 2021.
Wait, he’s still not retired yet, for he and Pat continue to relish the fun of their DJ gigs, although they do keep the number of clients to a more reasonable number these days. The dance classes are an add-on lark.
“They’re exercise and they expand friendships,” he said.
Keep on dancing, Colonel.
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