We mourn the passing and cherish the memory of Richard Herbert Bee, who passed away July 14, 2012. Dick was born September 15, 1926, to Emily and Richard Bee of Streator, Illinois.
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He grew up working in his dad's bowling alley and was elected to Streator's Bowling Hall of Fame for rolling a 700 series at the age of 17.
Upon graduation from Streator High in 1944, Dick immediately enlisted in the Air Force. After basic training in Biloxi, Dick was stationed in Naples, Italy after the end of WWII.
Upon his return to the States, he lost no time proposing to Dolores (Dee), his high school sweetheart, and they married April 12, 1947.
Dick and Dee moved to Peoria, Illinois, where Dick attended and graduated cum laude from Bradley University. He then accepted a position in a pharmaceutical firm's accounting department.
Four years and two kids (Joe and Damon) later, they moved to Chehalis and shortly thereafter moved to the Seattle area. In the mid '50s Dick started working in the financial division of Rainier Brewing Company, which owned the Seattle Rainiers baseball club.
In 1959 Dick was asked to succeed Fred Hutchinson as Business Manager of the Rainiers. Called "one of the most promising young executives in baseball," Dick quickly rose to the position of General Manager of the Rainiers.
He was asked to join the Toronto club of the International League (then a new Red Sox affiliate) as General Manager, but declined and remained with the Brewery as a financial executive, where he was trusted to carry cash in a briefcase for the Rainier Brewery's financing of the Robert Mondavi Winery. President Nixon requested a case of Robert Mondavi's Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon; Mondavi sent Dick Nixon two bottles of the '64 vintage, but sent Dick Bee Magnums of this famous vintage for son Joe's wedding.
Dick (Bee) later had finance positions with Olympic Foundry, Beebe International (an Ingersoll Rand company), and Wizard International.
His life was one of love, service and fun. Every summer, for many years, Dick and Dee took the five kids cruising the inland waters on their houseboat. He loved fine dining, fishing, and most of all his family and his community.
Dick and Dee were members of St. Thomas More Parish in Lynnwood.
Dick was surrounded by his loving family in his final days, and is survived by Dee, his loving wife of 65 years, by children Dr. Joseph Bee (Diane), Damon Bee (Debbie), Gary Bee (Nancy), Richelle Brown (Michael), and Patricia Heffernan (Michael), and by thirteen grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, his sister Eileen of Peoria, Illinois, and a number of nieces and nephews.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, July 20, at St. Thomas More Church in Lynnwood.
Published in Skagit Valley Herald Publishing Company on July 19, 2012