Gordon Fredrick Lee, 78, died on July 16, 2017 at HopeWest Hospice in Grand Junction, Colorado following a lengthy battle with congestive heart failure.
Born April 26, 1937 in Hamilton, Ohio, Gordon was the son of the late Benjamin Fredrick and Violet Anna Lee.
Gordon spent his early years in northern New Mexico where he developed a love for the outdoors. He learned to hunt, fish, and ride horses with his brothers Chuck and Foster. His family later moved to Cortez, Colorado where he played football, basketball, baseball, and ran track at Montezuma-Cortez High School, graduating in 1958. He married the girl next door, Joan Pittsenbarger, and they had two children, Sue Ann and Sherri. Gordon and Joan earned their teaching degrees from Adams State College in Alamosa, Colorado, and went on to become elementary school teachers in Southwest Colorado and Northern New Mexico for over 20 years. Gordon loved teaching, coaching, and helping young people grow into responsible and happy adults. He served as a little league coach, intermural basketball coach, and played on several bowling leagues. He served as a parent-sponsor for activities and trips with the Girl Scouts, Rainbow Girls, MCHS Forensics Team and Band. During these years Gordon was also an active member of the Cortez B.P.O.E. and the Cortez Volunteer Fire Department.
Preceded in death by his wife Joan, Gordon later met another elementary school teacher, Linda Boyd, who became his beloved wife, business partner, and caregiver. He grew to love her children Scott and Dawn Michelle. At first Gordon and Linda taught in the same school but later decided to leave teaching and together pursued Gordon’s lifelong dream of business management. Gaining experience and wisdom through a variety of ventures in network marketing, retail sales, healthcare, and facilities maintenance, they eventually landed at Nelson Road Self-Storage in Longmont, CO where they served as general managers for over 13 years. Just as he loved helping young students, as co-managers of a storage facility, Gordon and Linda enjoyed helping adults who were in transition due to job transfers, divorce, illness, death, and other life struggles—challenges that Gordon and Linda knew well and had learned to work through with their Christian faith and love for each other. During their leisure time Gordon and Linda loved to go camping and fishing and collecting wildlife figurines representative of animals they saw on their travels. Retiring in 2010 they set out in their motorhome for a lifetime adventure across the United States. In addition to his continued love of sports and the outdoors, Gordon loved the open road. While health concerns caused their “On the Road Again” adventures to be short-lived, they soon found Colorado’s Western Slope to be a great place to rest and enjoy life’s simple pleasures—good food and good company. Gordon loved food (especially green chili and chili rellenos) and he loved to cook; but most of all Gordon loved to spend time with his family, being a fun-loving grandparent, and he was delighted to meet his first and only great-grandchild.
In high school Gordon was known as “Smiley” because he always had a big beautiful smile, a huge heart, and he loved to make people laugh. May all who loved him be comforted to know that in his final days, he still had that big beautiful smile, a huge heart, and he was still making all of us laugh.
Gordon was preceded in death by his father, Benjamin Lee; mother, Violet Miller; brother, Charles Lee, and first wife Joan.
Gordon is survived by his wife Linda; son Scott (Misty) Coen of Pleasant View, UT; daughters Sue Ann (Tom) Lee and Dawn Michelle Coen both of Denver, CO; Sherri Lee (Daniel) Arosteguy of Grand Junction, CO; brother Foster (Carol) Stringfield of Austin, TX; sister, Joan Walker of Albuquerque, NM; several nephews and nieces, three grandsons, one great-grandson; and longtime family friends Dennis and Kelli Spruell.
No one traveled through life quite like Gordon did. A “Celebration of Life” with big smiles, generous hearts, and lots of laughter will be held in Cedaredge, CO in the autumn.
Please consider making a memorial contribution in Gordon’s name to: HopeWest, 3090B N. 12th Street, Grand Junction, CO 81506 or your local Hospice program.