Curtis Edwin Lee
1939 - 2015
Curtis Edwin Lee, 75, passed away Thursday, January 8, 2015 in San Diego, CA. He was born October 28, 1939 in Yuma, Arizona. Curtis graduated from Yuma High School and Pasadena College. He was the Owner of Lee Homes, LLC and Lee Real Estate & Investments. Curtis was a member of Yuma Southwest Contractors Association, City of Yuma Residential Advisory Board, Yuma Association of Realtors, Yuma Golf & Country Club, Board Member Champion Church. He loved golf and deep sea fishing, spending time with his family, and singing with friends and family.

If you are from Yuma, or just a doo wop fan anywhere, you know the name Curtis Lee. He was born and raised in Yuma with the voice of an angel, but had bigger dreams for himself and his career. He wanted to be a rock star. He began his recording career in 1960 when he met up with Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart of the Monkee's fame and Ray Peterson "Tell Laura I Love Her." They eventually moved to New York and were introduced to Phil Spector who was the new hot record producer at that time known for the "wall of sound." From that collaboration came his Billboard Hit "Pretty Little Angel Eyes" which he wrote with Tommy Boyce, followed by another Billboard Hit "Under the Moon of Love." He toured the country with big names such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Fabian, Jackie Wilson, Gary U.S. Bonds, Ricky Nelson and The Platters. He also collaborated with Carol King to record her "Just Another Fool" single.

He eventually returned to Yuma and dug roots down deep, where he met the love of his life and wife of 51 years, Lydia Lee. They started a family with the addition of their daughter, Tina, followed by Stephanie, Brandon and Darren.

He teamed up in the family construction business to work with his Father at Homer Lee and Son Construction. After working beside his father for many years, in 1969 he took over the business and developed it into one of the oldest and largest residential construction/development companies in Yuma, which is currently known as Lee Homes, LLC. He developed several projects around town such as Rancho Viejo, Old World Village, Rancho Verde, Rancho Sereno, and his current project of Falls Ranch. Some of his commercial projects included the remodel of the Crescent Center and the Shaw Carpet building.

One of his proudest projects was assisting in the construction/design of Champion Church, which he had a hand in from the ground up. His true musical heart was developed in his early years singing the old gospel tunes alongside his parents and sister, Betty, in churches that he watched his father build as a young man.

He was also involved in the community, anywhere from helping bring Grid Kids/Pop Warner, the first little league football to Yuma, BMX racing and contributed to Yuma High School Choralairs. He also served on the Residential Building Advisory Board for the City of Yuma, to mention a few.

Curtis was and will be remembered not only as a local boy that hit it big but as a true family man who believed in the small town values and roots. His happiest moments were when he was surrounded amongst the chaos of his many children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His legend will live on through his music and the fond memories of all he touched.

Curtis is survived by his wife, Lydia Lee of Yuma; sisters, Helen M. (Patsy) Lee and Betty (Dale) Snell of Yuma; daughters, Tina Lee (Andy) Ricker and Stephanie Lee-Howell (Dustin Drumm), of Yuma; sons, Brandon Lee (Jennifer Undine) and Darren Lee (Lisa Manchester), of Yuma; grandchildren, Brittani Lee (Ronnie) Rojas, Debanee (Kyle) Hardin, Robert (Ashley) Gonzales, Desiree Lee Howell and Morgan Bryce Howell; great grandchildren, Meadow Hope Harrison, Faith Chanel Hardin, Stella Rose Hardin, Ava Lee Gonzales, Memphis Curtis O'Neil Hardin, and Emma Claire Gonzales; step-grandchildren, Kyndra Leigh Ricker, Jayna Alyse Ricker, Austin Drumm, and Curtis Andrew Ricker; step-great grandchildren, Savanah Rojas, Sarah Rojas and Jasmine Jones; and several nieces, nephews and cousins. Curtis was preceded in death by his father, Home Lee; mother, Lillie Lee; sister, Matilda (Sissy) Lee; brother-in-law, Bill Stafford; niece, Donna Ann Stafford; nephew, Greg Stafford; son-in-law, Jason Howell.

Funeral service will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 17, 2015 at Champion Church, 3625 S. Avenue 5E, Yuma, with Pastor Stephen Bloomfield officiating. Final resting place will be at Desert Lawn Memorial Park. Pallbearers: Andrew Ricker, Dustin Drumm, Robert Gonzales, Ronnie Rojas, Kyle Hardin, and Morgan Howell. Honorary Pallbearers: Bill Britain, Davey Brooks, Henry Buijnorouski, Harvey Campbell, Tim Dunn, Mike Edwards, Jack Fritz, Bill Meinhardt, Dennis Monypeny, Virgil Moore, Robert Murray, Gary Pasquinelli, Warren (Porky) Pierson, and Ricky Sellers.

Memorial Donations in memory of Curtis Lee can be made to Bridget's Gift Foundation, PO Box 2812, Yuma, AZ 85366 (928) 723-5388, to support local cancer survivors. Or to TGen Foundation (Translational Genomics Research Institute), 445 N. Fifth Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004, (602) 343-8400,, a non-profit biomedical research institute that was instrumental in guiding him through his battle with cancer.
To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by Yuma Sun from Jan. 15 to Jan. 16, 2015.
No memorial events are currently scheduled.
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22 Entries
January 22, 2015
RIP. Your music will forever be a part of my memories.
Jim Baber
January 22, 2015
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Roy Miller
January 20, 2015
Lydia, my parents and I are sending our heartfelt sympathies to you and your family. May God bless and comfort you in this difficult time. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.
Penny Imhoff - Duncan
January 18, 2015
Curt was a wonderful man and a wonderful friend. Some of my favorite childhood memories were spent with you and your family. My heartfelt condolences to Lydia and the entire family. Thank you for being such great friends to us.
David Monypeny
January 17, 2015
What a truly beautiful testimony of love and family. My deepest condolences to all of you. May your love, strength and memories keep you comforted, until you meet again.
Denise Carlos
January 17, 2015
I grew up in Rancho Verde with the Lee Family. We actually lived in the first house that the Lees built in that neighborhood.Some of my best memories were spending the night at Lees house and being able to stay up late enough to watch The Midnight Special but most of all going out of town with Mr Lee in their motor home to Brandon and my football games!! I got to experience things that I wouldn't have with my family.. Mr Lee was always so patient with all of us boys doing our crazy boy things. He is 1 man that I really looked up to even to this day. He was such an amazing man.. I feel so fortunate to have known him but also the entire Lee family!! Mr Lees Legacy will live on for ever as one of Yuma's most important people!! Thank you Mr Lee..
Derek Laket
January 17, 2015
Uncle Curtis may you rest in peace, I do still have memories of you when we had family get togethers, I found you to be a very thoughtful caring loving person who cared for his family deeply. I may have been young but I watched you & saw how you were a very quite soft spoken but yet a smiling happy man. I also remember the times I was honored to become apart of your family as I came to your home and played with my cousins Tina, Stephanie, Brandon, Darren & my Aunt Lydia. I only wish I could have spent more of my adulthood growing up with you all. I will never forget you & as all my family I love You! I wish I could & would have if it was possible had attended the services, I'm sorry I couldn't pay my respects to the Lee family whose my family also. Love always & Never forget Heidi Marie Castro Wilson ?
Heidi Marie Castro Wilson
January 17, 2015
To all the Lee family, my deepest sympathies for your loss. May all your memories bring you much joy. God bless you with His strength, comfort, Peace and love.
Terri Yates
January 17, 2015
Dear Lydia and your family,
My heart goes out to you as you walk this new path The Lord has laid out for you. My prayer is that you'll know peace and comfort and as the family gathers around you,you'll share the fun times and laugh.
Sharrie St. John Lewis
January 17, 2015
Our deepest sympathy to the Lee Family. Curtis was one of a kind, he has given us support and so much more- especially in our time of need. We surly will miss him, may you be comforted by those who share your loss??
Penny & Wacel Harvick
January 16, 2015
To my dear friend and your family, there are so many fond memories of all the times we all had so many years ago. I am sure glad we knew such a great guy like Curt, he was special. Love you and thinking of you.

Len and Barb Wilson
January 16, 2015
Prayers are with you all during this difficult time.
Shelley Ostrowski
January 16, 2015
January 16, 2015
Hi Curtis. Thank you for your tireless efforts in contributing to the Yuma Community. I have your "45 record" on my jukebox, & intend to play both sides on the day You are laid to rest. Rest in Peace.---Doug & Joann Hand
Doug & Joann Hand
January 16, 2015
Jane and I will continue to hold Curtis, Lydia and their families in our prayers. We are blessed that Curtis was in our lives.
Paul Muthart
January 16, 2015
Uncle Curt, I will always treasure our real estate talks during the many family gatherings at Grandma Castro's house. And way before that Julie & I had so much fun running around Rancho Verde with Brandon & Darren. Rest in Peace Uncle Curt! Love and Miss You, Felisa
Felisa Taylor
January 15, 2015
Curt was always a hero of mine, being a part of the large extended family, there were several older males who fulfilled that role in the family, but Curt was always one of my favorites, hope to see you again soon, compadre,mike.
Dr. Mike Moore
January 15, 2015
I have so many fond memories of family time when I was younger spent with 'uncle Curt' and all the kids. I would make 'uncle Curt' choclate chip cookies when I was the 'nanny'. He was a true family man and loved 100%.He will be greatly missed by many. I always loved you Uncle Curt, Now I will always miss you and remember the good times.
Debbie Stafford-Toth
January 15, 2015
Lydia, Tina, Stephanie, Brandon, Darren and the entire extended Lee family – my heartfelt condolences at the loss of your husband and father. It is very sad to see some of the Yuma legends move on to the spirit in the sky. May your memories strengthen and comfort you during this trying time.
Jeff Byrd
January 15, 2015
Condolences to the Lee family.
He was a great man, had such a great family. Prayers for comfort during this time.
January 15, 2015
To the Lee Family,

Sincerest Condolences, Curtis is a man of faith and lived his life accordingly. Respect and will miss this very kind man.

Ray Corona
Raymond Corona
January 15, 2015
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