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Passed away peacefully at home in Tucson, Arizona in his 86th year. He is survived by his wife, Wendy, daughter Marian, (Randy Goodwin) of Davis, California, son John (Catherine) of Nevada City, California and granddaughters Owen and Bryn Goodwin, and Elena and Sinclaire Lee Bilheimer. Lee was born in Bonne Terre Missouri to Nellie Lee and Earl Leo Bilheimer. He attended elementary and high school in the small, mining town of Leadwood, Missouri and grew up hunting and playing basketball and baseball for his school and "town teams". His father was a mining engineer who had graduated from the Colorado School of Mines. Lee obtained a B.Sc. in Science and Mathematics from the University of Michigan. After taking a summer job as an underground "mucker" in the Empire Mine in Grass Valley, California, Lee knew he wanted to become a mining engineer and to someday live near " the sea and the mountains". He graduated from the Missouri School of Mines in Rolla, Missouri in 1952. Lee began his Canadian mining career with Placer Development and Brameda Resources. In 1970 he joined Teck Corporation, retiring in 1993 as Vice President, Construction of Teck Cominco (now Teck Resources). During his career he was involved in mine development in Montana, Missouri, Oregon, Colorado, New York, Alaska, Mexico, British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, Australia, and the Yukon. He frequently travelled to Chile consulting on mining projects until he was 80. In his "Memoirs of a Mining Man" Lee wrote, " There is a special bond between people engaged in wresting metals from the earth for the benefit of society and the common good. It has been a great ride ! ... (however) My career, with all its successful projects and adventure, would mean little but for the love and affection of those closest to me". Lee adored his four granddaughters and they returned his love. He and Wendy cherished their annual visits to "the cottage" on a lake in British Columbia. He will be greatly missed. The family wishes to express our gratitude to the Lee's special caregivers, Don and Vanessa and his physiotherapist, Rhonda, for their love and support. In honor of Lee, a donation may be made to the Canadian Heart & Stroke Foundation or a charity of your choice. A memorial service will be held on January 4, 2014 at 3PM, Trinity Episcopal Church, Nevada City, California, with a reception to follow.
Published in National Post on Nov. 9, 2013