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William R. "Bill" Lee

Funeral Notice
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Passed surrounded by loved ones on January 25, 2011. He was 68 years old. Born in Detroit, Michigan, he successfully avoided being trapped in quicksand as a youth, thereby triumphing over one of his early preoccupations. He received a B.A. (1964), and M.A. (1966), from Wayne State University, and received a Ph.D. (1972) in English from the University of Connecticut. He was a professor in the English department at Sonoma State University for 32 years, and had quite a following of devoted students. Bill was a longtime friend of Bill W. and was very active in that excellent community for many years. In a word, Bill was generosity, not only in the material sense but also in the realm of his keen intellect and kind heart. He lived well, and happily shared the wealth of his living with others. For many he was a bridge between higher learning and inner knowing. Giving freely of his time, he would listen deeply and speak with meaningful insights. He was a wise and devoted mentor and friend. Whatever role Bill played, he filled it to overflowing with his grizzly bear spirit. He explored this world with enthusiastic gusto revealing a great appreciation for diverse interests and entertainments, but he always remained true to his inner vision. Whether inspired by Dr. Seuss or Dr. Jung, he knew himself and was ever true to that self. A few quotes from his favorite literary works (as well as one of his own) sum up his life better than anything else: "Today is gone. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one. Every day, from here to there, funny things are everywhere." - Dr. Seuss. "I am large, I contain multitudes." - Walt Whitman. "Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist." - Ralph Waldo Emerson "Listen: There's a hell of a good universe next door; let's go." - E.E. Cummings "The trick is to read on because to read on is to do more than land a coracle; it is to fly out of our windows and reach the island of Neverland." - William R. Lee Bill is survived and missed by his daughter Rachel Lee of Santa Cruz, CA, his sister Jessie Sirna and husband Ron Sirna of Flint, MI, niece Andrea Clarkson and family (husband Peter Clarkson, and sons Ryan, Jacob, and Colin) of Pittsburgh, PA, and nephew David Sirna and family (wife Megan, and son Everett) of Atlanta, GA. He is survived by many friends, including Marianne Quinn of San Francisco, CA, Justin Russo, Tony Russo, Cindy Russo, and Ryan Russo of Rohnert Park, CA Jeff Rothal, of Pacific Grove, CA and Joe Zondlo, of Santa Rosa, CA. He is also survived by his beloved cat, Sydney. A private celebration of Bill's life will be held at a later date. Donations in his name may be sent to the Humane Society www.sonomahumane.org/support_us/ways_to_give/memoriams.htm or to the Bear Conservation Fund www.bearbiology.com/iba/bcf/bcfgive.html
Published Online in the Press Democrat from Mar. 12 to Mar. 13, 2011
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