ELYSBURG — "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." Psalm 116:15
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Robert H. Lee, 86, of Elysburg, passed from this life to the next Thursday, May 8, 2014.
He was born April 21, 1928, in Brooklyn, N.Y. As a young boy, he grew up with the gangs of New York and recalled how it was a daily struggle to stay alive.
Robert was always a top athlete in several sports including basketball, swimming and especially softball and baseball. He was an avid and dedicated runner.
He graduated from New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering with a bachelor's degree in metallurgical engineering and later with a bachelor's degree in secondary education.
He became a top research engineer for Union Carbide and was instrumental in the development of a key product that helped revolutionize the welding and wiring industry.
After living in New York and New Jersey, he married and relocated to Ashtabula, Ohio, and then later to Elysburg in the early 1970s to continue his research and development at a facility near Mount Carmel now known as Arcos.
When you spoke to Robert, however, he recognized his most notable "accomplishment" was when he accepted The Lord Jesus Christ as his savior in the late 1970s.
Soon after that, he traded in his engineering tools for a teacher's and helped found a small Christian school in Paxinos called Meadowview Christian Academy, where he served as administrator. An evangelist at heart, Robert felt led by his Lord to move to Fairbanks, Alaska, with his wife, Terry, to take on the role of administrator of a struggling Christian school.
He lived in Alaska for more than 15 years, during which time he started Fairbanks Family Alternatives (FFA), a home, his home, for juvenile boys. The government officially recognized FFA as an alternative to incarceration. It was truly a difficult undertaking, but Robert believed the Lord had prepared him through his childhood experiences in Brooklyn. He naturally connected to these young boys and successfully changed the lives of many.
After the passing of his dear wife in 1989, he continued his missionary work in Alaska until he felt the Lord calling him to another assignment. With basically one bag of personal belongings, he moved to Malawi, Africa in 2005.
He successfully organized IBMM (Independent Baptist Mission of Malawi). Over the first few years, hundreds and hundreds of young children received basic math, science and language education, at least one hot meal per day and a healthy dose of the Bible.
Robert lived his life for his Lord. He was always clear about that. His physical condition deteriorated over the past few years until his Lord took him home last Thursday.
He is survived by two sons, Herbert Brian, of York, and Robert, of Tulsa, Okla.; a daughter, Tracy, of Elysburg, and three grandchildren, Austin, Ashley and Molly.
LEE — Robert H. Lee, 86, of Elysburg. The family has decided not to have any formal services. He will be buried next to his wife in West Cameron. In lieu of any flowers, gifts, cards, etc., donations to IBMM will be accepted in honor and memory of Robert. Anyone who would like to donate is asked to send to Independent Baptist Mission of Malaw (IBMM) c/o Tom Murray, 1706 Southern Avenue, Fairbanks, Alaska 99709.
Published in News Item on May 16, 2014