LEE J. FRIEND
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Lee J. Friend, age 81, passed away on Jan. 25, 2013 at the Santa Rita Nursing Home in Green Valley, AZ. He was born on March 11, 1931, in Glastonbury, CT to Clifford and Myrtle Friend. He is survived by his loving wife June; three sons, Scott (Kim) of Southbury, CT; Brett (Jan) of Redondo Beach, CA; Christopher (Reachel) of Sierra Vista, AZ; grandchildren Derek and Anneliese Friend; and a sister, Gail Wright of Novato, CA.
Following graduation from Manchester (CT) High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. While on leave from Eielson AFB, AK, he met the love of his life, June Henry. After eight months of correspondence, he proposed by phone. They were married on Feb. 25, 1953 at the Center Congregational Church in Manchester.
Lee was employed at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft for two years before attending the Hartford Airline Personnel School. He went to work for United Airlines in 1958 as a Customer Service agent and later as Catering Representative of UAL Food Services at Bradley Field in Windsor Locks, CT. During their child-raising years, they lived in Enfield, CT, where Lee was a member of the Enfield Police Auxiliary and served as an Assistant Manager for the Enfield Sabers Drum and Bugle Corps.
As empty nesters. Lee and June moved to Granby, CT. After retirement from United in 1986, he worked at Beaman's True Value Hardware for 10 years before retiring to Green Valley, AZ, in 1998.
A proficient banjo player, he joined the Simsbury, CT Theater Guild orchestra and played in their musicals such as "Showboat," "Mame," "Hello Dolly" and many more. A self-taught "jack-of-all-trades," there was nothing he could not fix, build or do. He spent countless hours enhancing their homes with room additions, building a fireplace and much more. As lovers of antiques, Lee and June attended auctions and in 1978 formed The Friends Antiques. They participated in antique shows throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts for 19 years. Lee's ability to restore furniture and antique clocks became well known and brought them many return customers.
In 1993, they bought a waterfront home at Highland Lake in Winsted, CT, where they enjoyed many hours in the 1954 Chris Craft boat which Lee had lovingly restored. After moving to Green Valley, AZ, he was a volunteer at the White Elephant Thrift Shop for several years.
He will be remembered as a devoted husband and loving father. Lee was laid to rest at the Southeastern Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Sierra Vista, AZ.
Published in Green Valley News & Sun on Feb. 10, 2013