October 26, 1939 – September 6, 2017
Albert Lee Tyree passed away Wednesday, September 6, 2017, in San Francisco after a brief illness. He was 77 years old. Lee and his wife Misty have been residents of San Francisco for 36 years and have been married for 46 years.
Lee, as he was known by all, was born and raised on a farm in Lafayette County, Missouri. He epitomized the Missouri state motto of "Show Me," and he admired people who served large and said little, contributed to the betterment of humanity, but didn't boast. He strove to do the same. He liked to work hard, a trait he developed during his formative years on the farm. His farm years were a big influence on him, and he referred to them often. He teased, for example, that he only checked his email at three o'clock because the mail was delivered to the farm once a day, at three o'clock.
As a boy, Lee rode a horse to a one-room country school where the only teacher taught all eight elementary grades. His high school class was large by local standards, with 19 graduates. He played American Legion baseball and was one of the star players on the high school basketball team that went to the state finals. He joined the Navy at 17 and received an honorable discharge four years later. After the Navy, he enrolled at the University of Missouri and graduated with an electrical engineering degree, working his way through as a laborer, bartender, manager of a student dormitory, singer in a choir, and serving as the "oldest paperboy ever" in Columbia, Missouri. He had a distinguished 32 year career with AT&T, living in several cities and working at a variety of jobs and departments. He worked in a number of areas such as sales, engineering, labor relations, supplier management, and as a lobbyist in government relations. After retiring from AT&T, he was a consultant and coach, and then spent many years doing charitable work, playing golf, traveling, and managing the family farm and affairs from the "Tyree World Headquarters" in San Francisco's historic Flood Building.
At work and at play Lee started early, stayed late, did more than the next guy, and didn't mind the behind-the-scenes jobs no one else would do. He lived by the credo of "thrift, saving, and survival of the fittest," and he cultivated an image of a hard-driving tough guy, which he was. But beneath that exterior Lee was a sensitive and generous man who helped people that needed assistance. He gave freely of his time and money to numerous individuals and organizations in San Francisco, typically requesting the most difficult route to deliver food to or the most challenging CASA child to mentor. He was a champion for the underdog and quietly used his time, money, and power of persuasion to help people get over a hurdle. To Lee, a friend was a friend for life, and there was never a favor for a friend that was too large or too difficult.
Lee liked to laugh, and he enjoyed a drink and conversation with friends. He was a connoisseur of good food and drink, and he knew most of the restaurants in San Francisco. As the "Procurer of Venues" for the Dashiell Hammett Society, he was tasked with finding restaurants that had ties to Hammett's time in San Francisco, and Lee chose and test-drove each meeting venue.
Lee was upbeat and rarely had a bad day. He liked to play as hard as he worked, and he enjoyed competition and sport; including golf, tennis, sailing, bridge, and poker. He was an avid fan of the Giants, 49ers, and Warriors, and he followed the University of Missouri Tigers and often travelled to see them play.
Nature was a big part of Lee's life, and he loved to explore national parks, raft on rivers, and hike in the hills of California and all over the world. Drakesbad Guest Ranch was a significant part of his life, and he and Misty joined friends there each August for over 30 years where Lee hiked, swam, had cocktail hours, and told stories around the campfire. Few people who met him will forget the way he spun a tale about his crazy relatives or friends.
Lee and Misty lived in many locations across the United States and they enjoyed them all. But they fell in love with San Francisco, which was nirvana to Lee. He considered every day in San Francisco to be a vacation day. He also cherished the Missouri farm where he was born, and he visited the farm at least once each year. He was proud of his upbringing and referred to himself as just a Missouri farm boy.
Lee was many things: a wonderful husband, devoted friend, fierce competitor, contrarian, artist, story teller, and published author. He did all those things with extreme enjoyment, and he left a huge number of friends in his wake. He will be remembered by his wife Misty, his brother George and wife Betty, three nephews, Randy and wife Sarah, Tim and wife Diane, and Kevin and wife Jackie, as well as grand nephews and niece Christopher, Michael, Ryan, Megan, and many, many friends.
And, in his own words, he wanted everyone to know that he was kind to his cat.
Lee's Celebration of Life will be held:
Sunday, October 29, 2017, 2:00 p.m.
Marines' Memorial Club and Hotel
609 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94102