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F. Mary Fee

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F. MARY FEE Frances Mary Fee died at Treasure Coast Hospice on January 26, 2008, following hospitalization for pneumonia. She was 97, and last resided at The Waterford in Juno Beach. Mary was the eldest child of Judge Fred Fee and Emma Morgan Fee. She was born at the family home in Fort Pierce on Pine Street (now Second Street) on December 14, 1910. Mary descended from pioneer stock on both paternal and maternal sides. Her great-grandfather, Dr. William Miller Fee, was the first medical doctor anywhere on the Indian River, settling in Melbourne in 1878. In 1882, Dr. Fee was joined in Melbourne by other family members, including his son, Mary's grandfather, Frank H. Fee, and his son, W. I. (Will) Fee. With the help of Mary's uncle Will, Frank H. Fee, prospered as a merchant and professional, doing business as Fee & Stewart Hardware Co. and Fee Mortuary Company. He chartered and organized the Melbourne State Bank in 1893. In 1902, Frank H. Fee, along with his son, Will, relocated his hardware concern and the Fee Mortuary Company (since 1944, Yates Funeral Home), to downtown Fort Pierce. The Melbourne State Bank also relocated, changing its name to The Bank of Fort Pierce. The following year, Fee's brother-in- law, G. F. Paddison, and other owners of East Coast Lumber & Supply Co., branched that company from Melbourne/Eau Gallie, expanding Fort Pierce as a frontier business hub. Mary's father, Fred Fee, joined his father and brother in Fort Pierce after graduation from the law college of Stetson University in DeLand in 1905. In that year, Fred Fee established a law practice and assisted Mary's grandfather with his responsibilities as President of The Bank of Fort Pierce. Frank H. Fee was an early Mayor of Fort Pierce. Fred Fee served St. Lucie County as Judge and legislator, and in 1934 was a founding director and legal counsel to the savings institution that became Harbor Federal Savings Bank. Mary's maternal grandfather was Col. Eli O. Morgan, who settled first in western Manatee County in the late 1860's following service in the Civil War. Col. Morgan was a well- respected, substantial cattleman of his time. He ranged many head of cows in the Kissimmee River Valley and as far south as the Caloosahatchee River and Fort Myers. He maintained homes at various times in Kissimmee, Fort Bassinger, Pine Level, Bluefield and Fort Pierce. Mary graduated from Fort Pierce High School, Class of 1929. She attended the University of Illinois, receiving a bachelor and graduate degrees. During the 1930's she taught school at the college level and at the high school level in Fort Pierce. She always possessed a particular fondness for dance, and for a time operated a dance studio in the Arcade Building of Fort Pierce. With the support of then Circuit Judge Alto Adams, she self-trained and became the first female court reporter in St. Lucie County. She served Judge Adams' Circuit Court of St. Lucie County, and later reported for the Federal District Court of the Southern District of Florida in Miami. With the advent of World War II, she was commissioned an officer in the WAVES, U. S. Naval Reserve. Post-war, she returned to teaching for a time in St. Lucie and Dade Counties, and then returned for further graduate training at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. At the conclusion of her education, she was employed by the University of Wisconsin and remained there until retirement. At the University, she was able to fulfill her devotion to dance. She was instrumental in the development of a Department of Contemporary and Modern Dance and retired as a full professor. In 2002, in recognition of her achievements in the fine art of Dance, a family gift permitted the dance studio in the Fine Arts Building of Indian River Community College to be named in Mary's honor as the Fee Dance Studio. In addition to her mentioned forebears, Mary was predeceased by all of her siblings, William Morgan Fee; Frank H. Fee, (II), a former Mayor, County Attorney and Legislator; Margaret Fee Duggan; and Fred Fee, Jr. She was also predeceased by her niece, Judy Fee and her grand- nephew, Patrick Michael Duggan. She is survived by her nephews and niece, Frank H. (Speedy) Fee, III, of Fort Pierce; J. Robert Duggan, III, of Leesburg; Michael Fee Duggan of Atlanta; and Mary K. Fee of Fort Pierce. Grand-nephews and -nieces surviving are: Timothy E. Fee, M.D.; Michael Morgan Fee; Frank H. (Hank) Fee, IV; Christopher S. Duggan; Gregory A. Duggan, Angela K. Duggan; Amanda J. Duggan; Heather Duggan Dexter; and James W. Duggan. She is also survived by eleven great-grand- nephews and nieces. The family will conduct a private inurnment at the Fee Family plot at Riverview Memorial Park. Arrangements are by Yates Funeral Home and Crematory.
Published in the TC Palm on Feb. 5, 2008
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