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Obituaries

March 2, 2013

Rebecca Lynn Lee

McALESTER — Rebecca Lynn Lee, retired Realtor of Austin, passed away peacefully on Friday, February 22nd after a valiant 63 year struggle with Juvenile (Type I) Diabetes.  She was 72 years old.

Rebecca was born in a log cabin in Cabiness, Oklahoma on July 14, 1940.  She was the daughter of Rancher and Free Will Baptist Preacher, Harry Lee.  Her mother, Imogene Lee, went to College at the age of 40 to become a school teacher after many years as a homemaker.  Rebecca confessed her faith in Jesus Christ at an early age.  That faith was tested and sustained when she survived a serious case of Polio at the age of 8.  By the age of 9 she was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes and she was not expected to live.  Rebecca credited her mother, Imogene, with saving her life repeatedly through her vigilance and maternal intuition.  Rebecca attended a one-room schoolhouse in Haywood, Oklahoma and graduated Valedictorian of Stuart High School at the age of 16.  Her only sister, Leah Kay, was still a baby.

At 19, Rebecca received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from East Central State College in Ada, Oklahoma.  She married fellow student Wilford Lee in 1960.  They welcomed daughters Franka Lynette and Dawnetta Lynn into the world in 1961 and 1963, respectively.  Their son, Michael Kent was adopted in 1965 and their family was complete.

Rebecca received a Master of Science degree in Education from Central State University in Edmond, Oklahoma in 1969.  She taught Home Economics and Science in Harrah, Oklahoma from 1965 until 1969, when her husband Wilford, accepted a position as Associate Professor of Education at Pan American University in Edinburg, Texas.  Rebecca became the Career Education Coordinator for the McAllen Independent School District and was Pan American University Teacher Education Liaison until 1976.  During this period, Rebecca and Wilford invested in hundreds, and finally, over a thousand acres of citrus and farmland in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.  In 1977, she began selling Real Estate with BIC Realty in Edinburg, Texas where she was top producer and member of the Multi-million Dollar Club three years in a row.  Rebecca loved supporting her kids and was actively involved in Girl Scouts, 4-H Club leadership and teaching.  She filled numerous and varied roles at the First Free Will Baptist Church (now Valley Community Church) in McAllen, Texas which she and Wilford were instrumental in founding.

Rebecca’s husband died quite tragically in 1980.  Her son suffered debilitating head injuries in the same accident that took her husband’s life.  Devastated, she began selling off her interests in Citrus and farmland.  The friendship and support of Betty Gaston helped Rebecca to find a reason to live again and they became Co-owners and Broker-Associates of Gaston-Lee Properties of Edinburg and McAllen, Texas.    

After Rebecca’s children left home, she moved to Austin in 1984 and became active in the local Real Estate market, working with JB Goodwin, Keller-Williams and Stanberry and Associates.  In her later years, she volunteered as an Usher at the Paramount Theater and Bass Concert Hall.  She volunteered with The Symphony League, and she was absolutely passionate about her work with the Settlement Club.  She found fun and friendship in the social organizations Lords & Ladies, Forum and Phoenix.  The energetic and positive style of worship at Riverbend Church made it the perfect place to restore her soul.  When she could not get there in a car, she watched services on TV and faithfully supported their ministry.

In 2008, Rebecca moved to McAlester, Oklahoma to help her sister, Kay, care for their mother who had Lymphoma.  A sweet blessing was the new bond that this labor of love created for the sisters who were 15 years apart in age.  After Imogene’s passing in 2010, Rebecca returned to Austin.  No sooner had she returned than her own health began to fail.  The toll of living several decades with Diabetes and the onset of Post-Polio Syndrome made her previous gregarious way of life impossible. During these difficult years, she was befriended by Joany Price, who allowed Rebecca to mentor her in establishing a Real Estate Career.  This gave Rebecca great satisfaction and she began to look on Joany with pride and affection, almost like a daughter.  It was a special relationship.

Rebecca loved, lived and shared the American Dream, but she never forgot that her true citizenship was in Heaven.  For that we rejoice.

Rebecca is survived by daughter Lynette and husband Brian Harness, daughter Dawnetta and husband Doug, and her grandchildren Heather, Holly and Hunter Hodge, along with her son Kent Lee, all of Austin.  She is also survived by her sister Kay and husband Jack Crawford, niece Rachel Shaw and husband Derek, and nephew Justin Crawford and wife Lisa, all of McAlester, Oklahoma.  Rebecca leaves behind her beloved pet dog, Dolly, who came close but could never take the place of her Jack Russell Terrier, Casey, who precedes her in death.

A memorial will be held on March 8th at 10:00 AM at The Smith Family Chapel at Riverbend Centre.  The service will be conducted by the beloved Rev. Dean Busboom and Mike Robertson of Riverbend. The Rev. Greg Lanier of Shepherd of the Hills Christian Church (D.O.C.) will dedicate a memorial marker in Remembrance Gardens at Riverbend according to Rebecca’s wishes.  Her remains will be laid to rest at a later date alongside those of her husband and pet Casey in Mission, Texas at Valley Memorial Gardens.

In lieu of flowers, you may consider honoring Rebecca with a donation to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation or The Settlement Home for Girls in Austin. Thanks to the nurses at Longhorn Village and Hospice Compassus for your sensitive and gentle care.   Our family is eternally grateful to Doctors Tom Blevins, Hans Hayden and Barbara Eckrey for helping Rebecca live far longer than any of us ever dreamed she would!  Every day was a gift.

Obituary and guestbook available online at www.wcfish.com

Funeral Arrangements by Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, 3125 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78705 - (512) 452-8811

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