Lance Douglas McKee
Portland, Oregon - Lance Douglas McKee, passed away peacefully at home with family on August 15, 2020 from a chronic illness. He leaves his wife, Kathy Moran McKee; daughter Caitlin McKee, her husband Brandon, and son Eli; daughter Emily, her husband Futoshi, and son Makoto; four caring siblings, Bill McKee, Martha Fleming, Tom McKee, and Rob McKee who continue to have an equally vibrant impact on this world; extended family, beloved friends, and diverse communities. While there is inevitable sorrow when a life ends, Lance's creative spirit, dedication to future generations, and his calm and warm soul remain very much alive in all who knew and loved him.
Lance was born on May 14th, 1948 in Shell Lake, Wisconsin to an artist mother, Janette Vergennes McKee, and an inventor father, Douglas William McKee. He had a brilliant and creative mind that could open people's imaginations. Lance loved cities and rural expanses and guitars and the sea. He hitchhiked across the country and enveloped himself in the complex fabric of the 1960s; rode his 10-speed from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Ely, Minnesota and canoed the boundary waters; sailed the full-length of the Atlantic; and explored sculpture, painting, many years of boat building, and metalwork. These experiences were foundational to who he was and his lifelong journey of understanding the intersections of religion, science, and spirituality.
Lance graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1970 with an English degree. After college, he worked in machine shops and then began his career as a teacher in schools across the country. In 1975, to the delight of all, Lance landed in Worcester, Massachusetts where he lived for over 40 years. He continued his teaching at the Webster Square Daycare Center and completed his Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education. He loved children and they loved him. His imagination and creativity were unparalleled and he was always teaching those around him with an inviting energy.
He met his wife, Kathy Moran McKee, a fellow teacher, at a Save City Hospital meeting. They were married on May 20th 1978, at the Elm Park Center for Early Childhood Education. Lance and Kathy raised two daughters, Caitlin and Emily. As a father he instilled a sense of curiosity, wonder, and freedom to explore. The basement was where he taught his girls to weld, use power tools, create. The basement was also the birthplace of Mosaica, a company he created that utilized computer technology to create intricate mosaics. Working with family and members of the Worcester community he designed and built multiple large scale mosaic installations that graced Worcester and surrounding towns for decades.
His professional world matched his expansive curiosity and energetic mind. In 1994, as a founding member of OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium) his critical and philosophical mind was instrumental to this leading organization in global software standards. He served as OGC's VP of Corporate Communications until 2000 and for the next 16 years he continued to serve as a consultant, staff, and member. Throughout his career with OGC he cultivated friendships both local and international that he cherished like family. He always felt honored to be working with such brilliant minds.
Lance had a contagious optimism that change was possible. The Tatnuck Brook Watershed Association, Blackstone River Watershed Association, Mass Audubon, and the Regional Environmental Council were a few of the local organizations that he was dedicated to. Personally impacted by asbestosis after working in an asbestos plant in his 20's, he became very passionate about stricter regulations for new technologies like 5G. His ability to synthesize complex technical information into impactful writing and research made him a great asset to a number of different advocacy groups.
Throughout his life, he befriended and impacted many incredible souls. He was part of a men's group for most of his years in Worcester and joined friends weekly at the Bean Counter to write creatively. The Unitarian Universalist Church of Worcester was a cherished community for Lance and his family where he met many open-minded friends and had the space to both expand and deepen his spiritual beliefs. He was dedicated to having family together and being with his grandkids. He and Kathy moved to Portland, Oregon in the Spring of 2019 and bought a house close to his daughters where his family was able to cherish the last year of his life.
Lance's pacifism, caring, listening, kindness, and compassion touched all that knew him. Teacher, mentor, confidant, and friend, he was truly a blessing to everyone. To honor the life of this incredible man, his family has made a memorial site that people can explore and add to. As his family, we wish to thank all of you who have supported him, loved him, laughed with him, and impacted him throughout his life. We are grateful.
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Worcester will be hosting a virtual memorial on Sep 20, 2020 04:00 PM. Register at: www.tinyurl.com/y4l8qkq7
or email: [email protected]
Please visit Lance's memorial website:www.lancedouglasmckee.com
Published by Worcester Telegram & Gazette from Sep. 4 to Sep. 6, 2020.