Old Saybrook - Thomas J. Lee Jr., 84, formerly of Hartford and Enfield, died Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, at his home surrounded by his loving wife, Ellen, children, grandchildren and caregivers.|
Fondly known as dad, papa, uncle Tommy, Mr. Tommy, and Mr. Tom, he was born in Hartford, son of the late Thomas and Viola (Bernier) Lee. He graduated from Weaver High School, Class of 1947, where he was an all-star in football, track, baseball, and basketball, and superlative "Best Dancer". He joined the U.S. Air Force soon after and served his country during the Korean War.
Following his military service, he married a fellow Weaver High School alumnus, Ellen Kelleher, whom he met at a friend's wedding. He began work at Pratt & Whitney as an airplane mechanic, transitioning to a technical writer, which was his primary job until his retirement in the mid 90s. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus in Enfield and spent many a night tending bar and playing cards. At family parties or weddings you would find him "In The Mood" on the dance floor showing off, clearly the best in the room!!!
He was co-patriarch of summers at Old Lyme Shores with the Wardwells and the Goldens, playing horseshoes and trying to corral the young'uns from drinking all the beer. He loved playing golf with his sons and friends, George Gobin and Gerry Murray. He was a UConn basketball season ticket holder for over 20 years and loved his NY Football Giants. He enjoyed a good cigar and even better Irish whiskey. Ireland was his home away from home and he would eventually travel there 10 times following his retirement with his wife, friend Jerry Gorman, and various children and grandchildren. There is no doubt he's enjoying a Guinness right now while listening to a Frank Sinatra tune!
Besides his wife, he is survived by his children; daughters, Kathleen and Ed Russell of Suffield and Karen Vivian Lee and Joe Milbier of Windsor, and sons, Kevin and Barbara Lee of East Hartford, and Kerry Lee and Laura Graf of Scotland. Papa also leaves nine grandchildren, Kevin Russell, Katy Walpole, Candice Wakefield , Tom Russell, Kenzy York , John Lee, Casey Menard, Brandon Lee, and Alex Lee; and six great-grandchildren, Elizabeth, Kieva, Harper, Judah, Kenny, and Jack.
He was predeceased by his son, Kenneth; and lifelong family friend, Mike Pohorylo.
Of late, he has been cared for by a very special human being, Manny, who fits the word Godsend to a â€˜T'.
Friends and relatives are invited to call from 2 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 5, at the Swan Funeral Home in Old Saybrook. A funeral service will begin at 5 p.m., at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the
Directions to the funeral home can be found at www.swanfuneralhomeoldsaybrook.com.
Published in The Day on Aug. 3, 2014