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Ronnie Eugene Lee, June 26, 1940 - Feb. 3, 2013. "If love could have saved him, he would have lived forever." Friends, family and fun. These three words best describe Ron Lee's life. Coming from a nomadic childhood spanning Missouri, Texas and Illinois, Ron learned to make friends quickly and always had a soft spot for those less fortunate. His dazzling smile, sparkling blue eyes and quick wit turned every day into an adventure that you just hoped you could join. Following graduation from Burlington Central High School, he proudly served in the U.S. Army. By trade he was a brick layer, later building custom homes in the Elgin area. An exceptional athlete, Ron enjoyed all sports from basketball to kayaking to bag tournaments. He founded the American Officials Association with his best friend Mike Pool, providing officials for basketball, softball, football and floor hockey throughout the Fox Valley. In 1977, he met Karen (Wilharm) when they both played softball in the City of Elgin leagues. Years later, after they married in 1987, they began their quest for the "perfect beach." Together they traveled to dozens of countries, making lasting friendships with people from places such as Russia, Canada, Mexico and Aruba. A passionate gardener, Ron's "uniform" any time the weather was above 60 degrees was a swimsuit and flip flops. Known as the "Tan Man," Ron enjoyed the outdoors, planning and cultivating beautiful gardens where he raised both vegetables for his famous salsa and flowers for his devoted wife. Their hard work received endless compliments. Well-known throughout the neighborhood where they lived for over 20 years, Ron was always willing to lend a hand and he and Karen were known for their frequent walks with their beloved little Corgi, Pudding. His loving daughters, Lisa Hood and Amber Granito will remember his deep love for music, exercise and ice cream. His music trivia talent lives on in Lisa; Amber will carry on his wise-cracking, fun-loving spirit. With his sons-in-law, Darin and Frank, he loved to talk sports, specifically about his Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis Cardinals, or share the latest joke he heard at the coffee shop. Ron lit up in the presence of his grandchildren, Carson, Devin and Giuliana. He so enjoyed watching Carson play football and basketball, Devin singing and dancing, and little Giuliana bouncing on his knee. His brother, Roger (Debbie) Lee; sisters, Pat (Steve) Duber and Donna Campbell, and many extended family members have endless stories about the fun times they shared with Ron over his 72 years. Ron has joined his parents, Ralph and Christine Lee; two siblings in infancy; and his granddaughter, Brenna Rose Hood. It has been said that a man is lucky if he has one true friend in his life. Well then, Ron was abundantly blessed with many friends and acquaintances, too many to name. He will be fondly remembered and deeply missed by his family and friends. A memorial will be held for Ron this Friday, Feb. 8, at Laird Funeral Home, 310 S. State St. (Route 31), Elgin, from 4 to 8 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Anderson Animal Shelter. For more information, please call 847-741-8800 or visit www.lairdfamilyfuneralservices.com. R- You always said, "We're not here for a long time, just a good time!" How true, my love, how very true. I miss you desperately. Always, K
Published in Chicago Suburban Daily Herald from Feb. 6 to Feb. 7, 2013
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