Elder Lee
Elder Lee

Obituary of Elder A. Lee

Elder was born on December 11, 1928, in Lidgerwood, North Dakota, to Julius and Disa (Fatland) Lee. He spent his childhood in his beloved North Dakota, growing up on a farm. He graduated from Wahpeton High School in Wahpeton, North Dakota. Following high school, he entered the U.S. Air Force and was sent to Germany. While he was in the military, Elder attended the University of Maryland – Heidelberg campus, as well as La Salle University in International studies.

After serving six years in the U.S. Air Force, Elder moved to Denver, Colorado to work for the Rocky Mountain Motor Tarif Bureau. His love for travelling outside the U.S. made Elder apply for the U.S. Foreign Service at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. After extended studies at the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, Virginia, Elder received his first assignment to the American Embassy in Bonn, Germany. From there, he had many posts all over the world, Rangoon, Burma; Niamey, Niger; Oslo, Norway; Dakar, Senegal; Rome, Italy; Brussels, Belguim; Johannesburg, South Africa; and Vienna, Austria to name just a few.

On one of his transfers, Elder met a German-born woman by the name of, Ute-Elke Helleckes. They married in 1966 in Oslo, Norway. When they returned for a short post position to Washington D.C., their beloved son, Douglas E. Lee, was born. Elder was so proud of him.

Travelling all over was Elder’s passion. He also loved to read and was very much interested in current and foreign affairs, as well as history. Elder received numerous important awards, one from President Carter during Salt meetings in Vienna. The humble man he was, Elder never boasted or even talked about it. He retired after 31 years in the Foreign Service and moved with his family to Lacey, Washington, where several sisters and brothers lived. He always missed his North Dakota.

Douglas married Michelle Welch in 1992. Elder was blessed with three wonderful grandsons, Jonathan E. Lee who lives and attends school in Alabama; and Logan and Lucas Lee who reside with their parents in Chehalis, Washington.

Elder loved his family more than anything. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Ute-Elke; his son Douglas and wife Michelle; grandsons, Jonathan, Logan and Lucas; his sister Ferne Clark and LeRoy Clark; as well as many nieces and nephews – Alan Sandera, LeRoy Clark Jr., LaDeen Thompson, Julie Gault, Kingsley Clark, Shelly Clark-Pedro, and their families.

Elder was loved by all. He was a reserved and quiet man with an amazing sense of humor. Bless you dearest husband, father, Opa, and brother.

Auf Wiedersehn!

Celebration of Elder’s life is scheduled for Saturday, May 4th, 2013, at 11:00a.m., at Trinity Lutheran Church 2020 Franklin St SE, Olympia WA 98501.

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