LeRoy B. "Lee" Martelli Lee passed away after a long illness. He was 85 years old.
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Lee was born in San Francisco in the Cow Hollow neighborhood. He was the eldest son of Basilio Martelli and Mabel Martelli Perrino. As a child he watched the building of the Golden Gate Bridge from his bedroom window.
During World War II Lee served honorably in the Maritime Service aboard the USMSTS "American Seafarer." After the war he married Norma Steele from Washington and they remained married for 38 years until her death in 1986.
In 1948 Lee followed in his father's footsteps and became a refuse collector in San Francisco for Scavengers Protective. In 1955 he moved to the Monterey Peninsula and spent 30 years owning and operating refuse services in Monterey, Pacific Grove, Seaside, Marina and Castroville. He began early recycling programs on the peninsula and started the first transfer station there. Lee happily introduced himself as "Lee the Garbageman."
For many years Lee was active in Lions Club, the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary.
Lee retired in 1985 and enjoyed traveling. He made many trips to Italy to visit his family there. When not traveling he could be found at local coffee shops eating breakfast, reading the paper and visiting with old friends.
Lee is survived by his son Chris (Gail) Martelli, his daughter Joelle Steele, granddaughter Adrienne Martelli and long time companion Gunhilde Dobransky.
Visitation will be 9-11AM, February 14 at The Paul Mortuary in Pacific Grove, CA. A private burial service will be held afterwards at the Italian Cemetery in Colma, CA.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Feb. 12, 2013