Joy, generosity, and most of all kindness lace together Mike’s adventurous, hard-working, fun-loving life.
Michael Paul Lee was born in Davenport, IA on August 17, 1938, the only child of William and Verna Lee. Life growing up in Davenport was good. Mike started working at the age of 12, because you could in 1950, at the corner grocery store and never stopped working for the next 54 years. Mike graduated from Davenport Central High School in 1957 and from Augustana College, Rock Island, IL in 1961. He married Patricia at Trinity Cathedral in Davenport on February 16, 1980, when the wind chill was just about -40.
Mike was employed in the trucking industry in management and sales for decades and saw many changes, especially with deregulation. He loved sales, even in the early days as a member of the Davenport Jaycees, and was named Outstanding Young Man of America.
There was always time for a wide variety of volunteer projects and fun adventures.
The first adventure came in the form of a hot air balloon ride in the early 80’s when the sport was just getting off the ground, so to speak. He talked about that experience for the next 42 years until the conversation turned to how about a ride with Elon. And look at him now!
Mike was a longtime member of IATSE Local 85 (International Alliance of Theatre and Stage Employees) and was thrilled to run the spotlight during the early days of countless rock and country stars. Mike loved golfing and as a lefty playing right was always sure to surprise. Mike volunteered for 40 years for the Bix 7 Mile Road Race held every July on the hills of Davenport, IA. He saw the race grow from a few hundred to a record 18,000 runners and walkers. He worked with the race results committee, often well Biography for Michael Paul Lee, Davenport, IA
Mike and Pat traveled from the Caribbean to northwest Canada and many points in between over the next four decades. Adventures ranged from snorkeling with a friendly baby octopus off the coast of Virgin Gorda to chance encounters with black bear and moose near Jasper, Alberta, home to the not to be missed Jasper National Park and Dark Sky Preserve, to witnessing glaciers calving off the coast of Alaska.
After dark, it was time to get out the telescope to make sure the moon and the stars were still aligned. And they always were. It is so fitting Mike’s next trip will give him a closer look at the skies.
The best days of all? The best days were at home mowing (change the pattern every week) or plowing snow with the court crew of Bill, Doc, and Kurt. Success was measured by the blade of grass or by the snowflake. The very best days were spent working in the woodshop with Pat, building sturdy and safe houses for all the wrens.
It is still unbelievable that Mike joined the angels on June 16, 2022 after a hard-fought battle with prostate cancer. Remaining to cherish the memories are his wife, Pat, and his beloved dog Jackson.
You could hear him smile.
Such joy for life I have never seen.
It is humbling to attempt to write an adequate tribute for my hero, my mentor, my best friend, and my husband of 42 years.
My hero. Mike always took the high roan. Life is too short to sweat the small stuff. Oh so true.
My mentor. Mike taught me everything. To mow the grass in a different pattern every week although I was never really allowed to mow after I mowed the entire yard without dropping the blade. Do not on any count cut through the 100 ft. industrial grade drop code when trimming the bushes. Which I did. To take extra time and use the level. That a screwdriver is not a wrench no matter how hard you try.
My best friend. So many immeasurably good times whether snorkeling in the Caribbean yes with a baby octopus or following bears and moose in Alberta. The best days however were at home, the best place ever, mowing or plowing snow in the court with the team, Kurt, Bill, and Doc, or watching the Iowa Hawkeyes on tv or in the workshop building houses for all the wrens.
My husband of 42 glorious years. The adventures started right away with a hot air balloon ride and look where he’s going now!
What permeated everything he did and said, every step he took was his kindness to all – all the people, all the dogs and cats of Torrey Pines Court, and beyond, all the birds and all the little bugs. Mike would remind us all –
Just be kind.
And drink a Pepsi.