William Lee
William Lee

Obituary of William Martin Lee

Bill Lee was born in Tacoma, Washington on December 13, 1923 to parents Martin and Vera Lee. He was raised in Ruston where the family home on Pearl St. was only one block from the entrance to Point Defiance park. This nearness to Puget Sound gave Bill a fondness for the waterfront that he kept throughout his life. As a youth, he attended school in Ruston and played basketball for both Meade Junior High and First Lutheran in the church league. His tricky left-handed shots made him a lead scorer in many games with one newspaper article calling him “the big gun”. Watching sports was a love of his throughout his lifetime; basketball, baseball or football it didn't matter. Bill left high school before graduation to enlist in the army during the Second World War. He was deployed to Germany in the 104th (Timberwolf) Infantry Division. He earned a bronze star for repairing communication wires at the front while under enemy artillery fire. Throughout the war he wrote many loving letters to his parents, which they cherished and kept. His daughter Nancy has many of these now which serve as a testament to her father’s respect and caring for his family. After he returned from the war, Bill often fished in Puget Sound. He kept a row boat at Point Defiance Boathouse. This was where he met his wife, Dolores, who was working at the aquarium. They were married and a year later there daughter Nancy was born. As his only child, Bill doted on Nancy, loving her unconditionally. Bill and his daughter would play baseball in the vacant lot next to the house. He would take her to Point Defiance to fish off the docks. The family would take camping trips to Carbon River, Belfair and Tawana State Parks as well as the ocean where they camped on the beach. Bill was driven by the values of honesty and hard work. He spent most of his working life at American Manufacturing as a drill press operator. He was one of the hardest working, most productive machinists they had. He was never sick, but when he would go on vacation his replacements could never produce the quantity or the quality that were part of Bill’s daily work. Once he retired, Bill was an avid walker. Every day he headed out; sometimes along the waterfront, sometimes the 30th street hill (which he could do in nine minutes in his late 60’s) or sometimes he did an 11 mile round trip from his home to Point Defiance and back. Where ever he went he always like to sit a while and watch people. He also fostered and kept many long term friendships from his youth in Ruston to his retirement days when he met daily with a group of the guys at Starbucks. He was a gentle soul who loved to listen and to watch, rather than be the center of attention. He was always kind. Bill moved to the Weatherly Inn Assisted Living this past January, where again he made many friends. He loved to sit in the hall in his trademark jeans and colorful polo shirts visiting and talking with the people. Bill had a very strong religious faith. He was a member of the Emmanuel Lutheran Church. It gives his daughter comfort to know that on the afternoon of his death, the pastor at the Tacoma Lutheran Home sat and prayed with her father to allow him a loving passage. He will be missed by many; his daughter, his friends, his cousins. Bill is preceded in death by his father, Martin; his mother, Vera; his brother, Robert and his wife, Dolores. His daughter Nancy lives in Portland, Oregon. At Bill's request there will be no service. Any remembrances can be made to Emmanuel Lutheran in Tacoma, Washington in honor of his name and his faith. Arrangements by Edwards Memorial Center 253-566-1008
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