Richard Lee was born in Whitehall, MT, on December 31, 1932, the last of 10 children. He died in Fallbrook on March 27, 2009.
In 1942, the family moved to California and settled in the Central Valley in the town of Parlier. After high school he served four years in the United States Air Force. Richard was discharged in 1957 with the rank of staff sergeant. While in the Air Force, he became a Ham radio operator and took many classes though Air University an extension of the US Air Force.
Driving home after his discharge, he met and then married his first wife, Kay, in Oregon in 1959. Daughters Karen and Lisa were born to this union.
In 1965, at the age of 35, Kay succumbed to cancer and Richard started life as a single parent with two girls under 3 years old. He accepted the Lord in 1966 and started his lifelong journey with Jesus.
Richard met Gladys Schmidt in Torrance, CA. After a short courtship they were married in October 1969. Suddenly he became an instant dad to Jackie, a teenager. They lived in Torrance until 1990.
Richard worked for TRW for 32 years as an electrical engineer and at 57 decided that retirement was for him. So, in July 1990, he retired and Richard and Gladys found their paradise in Fallbrook. They joined Community Baptist Church and have faithfully served the Lord in the Fallbrook community.
During this time he was a driver for Meals on Wheels and was active in the Reche Club for the upkeep and promotion of the first Fall Brook School. At Community Baptist Church, he sang “1/2 tenor” in the church choir, was head of the Pastoral Care Team to help with rides around town, prayer for the sick and bereaved and other duties. He was head chef for the annual Mother’s Day Family Dinner and worked tirelessly in yearly garage sales, monthly clean-up days and cheerfully completed any other task asked of him. He photographed every event for church and family activities and shared his pictures freely with anyone who asked. He spent the last 15 years as Fallbrook’s best-loved handyman. He fixed almost anything and everything, especially for seniors, whom he loved to greet with a cheery, “Hello! How ya’ doin’ today?”
Richard was preceded in death by his first wife, Kay (Park) Lee; parents Yoon Keung Lee and Ke Nam Lee; sisters Lucille, Sarah, Rose and Mary; and brothers Frank, Harry, George and Robert.
He is survived by Gladys, his wife of almost 40 years; sister Loabie Lee; daughters Lisa Lee of Torrance, Karen (Lee) Mintzias of Redondo Beach and Jackie (Schmidt) Fisher of Ramona; sons-in-law Constantinos (Gus) Mintzias and Art Fisher; grandchildren Cristina (Fisher) Kiehl, Paul Fisher and Evan Fisher and their spouses, Christopher Mintzias, Matthew Mintzias and Elizabeth Mintzias; and two great-grandsons.
A memorial service to celebrate Richard’s life will be held at Community Baptist Church, 731 South Stage Coach Lane in Fallbrook, on Saturday, April 4, at 10 a.m. A memorial fund has been established at the church in lieu of flowers. Contact the church at (760) 728-2966 for more information. Arrangements are being handled by Berry-Bell & Hall Fallbrook Mortuary.