OBITUARY

Lee Roy Chesney III

July 5, 1945June 27, 2021
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Lee passed away in the early hours of June 27, 2021, a week shy of his 76th birthday. Born July 5, 1945 in San Antonio, Texas to Lee Roy (Jr.) and Elizabeth Josephine (Lamb) Chesney, he was the oldest of two children, a gifted educator and artist who dedicated his life to service.

Lee’s early years were spent growing up in the Midwest as well as more exotic locales (including Japan and France) as he and his family followed Lee’s father all over the world in the 1950s and 1960s. Like his father, Lee 3 discovered a love of art, and pursued it as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (BFA, painting 1969) and as a graduate student at Indiana University (MFA with honors, printmaking 1972).

Soon after finishing his MFA, Lee was hired as a summer instructor of printmaking in the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. As will surprise no one that knew him, Lee’s talent in the studio and as head of a classroom earned him a full contract in 1975 and promotion to tenure in 1978. While at UT, Lee met Margaret (Molly) Malone, whom he married in 1981. They had two children, Sarah Jane (1983), and Samuel Lee (1985).

Over the course of his 49 years living in Austin and teaching in the Department of Art and Art History at UT, Lee trained and mentored many students, touched the lives of numerous colleagues and friends, and threw himself into causes great and small. He spent over 25 years in Scouting with the Boy Scouts of America, serving as Scoutmaster as well as District Commissioner for the Capital Area Council. He was also active in the Northeast Austin Rotary Club for many years, serving as president and donating his time to many Rotary ventures including Meals on Wheels, for which he delivered for many years.

Lee’s most prominent trait was his generous spirit, and his greatest pleasure was in helping others to achieve their visions – be it in the studio, at the campsite, or any place he found himself.

Lee is survived by his sister, Terril and brother-in-law Scott Bauer; his daughter Sarah Jane; his son Samuel, daughter-in-law Angelica, and grandson (and all-time favorite person) Noah Lee Santiago Chesney.

A memorial in Lee’s honor will be held for friends and family at 11:00 am on Saturday, July 24 at Cook- Walden Funeral Home 6100 North Lamar, Austin, Texas 78752.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider donations to causes close to Lee’s heart: the Capitol Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America; Rotary International; and the Department of Art and Art History at UT, where Lee has arranged for a scholarship for undergraduate printmaking students.

Services

  • Memorial Service

    Saturday, July 24, 2021

Memories

Lee Roy Chesney III

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Matt Bauer

July 25, 2021

Uncle Lee had an outsized impact on everyone he met- truly honored to have known him. Our last real conversation was about Scouting, which was fitting. Our deepest condolences. - Matthew, Jessica, Mason, Mara and Mark.

Vicki Bohannon

July 24, 2021


Life is precious , A minute, an hour, a year …a memory, a life.
Always the promise of catching up one day. Images of moments keep drifting through like dreams. When someone is in your heart, they are there forever.
Sometimes , years would run by, but then we would connect briefly to fill in a life’s trajectory, wish well, and be gone again in the whirl that is everyday. Never urgent , just the basic bit of maintenance that defines a life and who your family is.
Lee and I shared a life, shared a home , in the beginning of what turned into being his long held position at UT. We were together drifting apart when he met Molly, the love of his life. Lucky girl to be on that path with him.
I have always been honored to have known & been a small part of the force that is Lee…. His parents, his sister, his grandparents, all a wonderful collection of Chesney’s were my family for a time. I am so sorry Lee has left us, so sorry his life stopped so soon. I always believed he would be there as a touchstone forever. In my heart he is.
I sit in this garden and watch the hummingbirds come and go with the speed an stealth of a warrior , and it think life is like an invisible beat of a wing….. Farewell Lee, Bless you on your path to the rest of time, you will never be alone, never forgotten.

Wade Shaw

July 24, 2021

Lee was a good friend who helped me find a home in the UT Art community. I helped him get drunk and get married-- not in that order, though I tried. Remembering him, I will always be his student, and he a mentor.

Kent Niemann

July 22, 2021

I know I speak for many friends when I regretfully say how sorry we all are to hear that Lee is no longer with us. Certainly a big reason my former student colleagues and I still feel we lived and learned during the golden times in the mid 70’s at UT’s Art and Art History Departments was being in the presence and under the influence of Lee Chesney. Lee’s technical abilities represented a knowledge reservoir always available and shared with his students. His teaching style included the ability to communicate his high expectations regarding the outcomes of each student’s knowledge, their technical mastery and the artistry demonstrated in their work. He demonstrated a standard for the effort it took to succeed by tirelessly doing his own work. There were many days Lee was the first to arrive at the lab and the last to leave. Some days, he never left! His were important life lessons about creativity, determining what’s important, focus & discipline, commitment and the joy of doing what you love………lessons carried forward by all those who had the pleasure and honor to know him. Thank you & RIP Lee Chesney! Kent Niemann AIA, BFA 73 & 74

Sarah Chesney

July 19, 2021

Sarah Chesney

July 18, 2021

Sarah Chesney

July 18, 2021

Jeffrey Smith

July 5, 2021

When I arrived at UT in 1979, Lee quickly introduced himself since we shared a passion for prints. Of course, he made them; I just wrote about them. Over the years, he became a good friend, colleague, and occasionally, when he was acting chair, my boss. He gave so generously to our department, its faculty, staff, and students. There was always a smile and a sharing of his innate humanity. I shall miss Lee. I am glad I got to spend a bit of time with him in the last days at St. David's. Lee and Molly left you and us too quickly. Sarah and Sam - you should know how proud your father was of you.

Samuel Chesney

July 2, 2021

Elizabeth Jackson/Morgan

July 1, 2021

Please accept my sincere condolences for the passing of Mr. Chesney. I was a 1980 BFA UT grad. Mr Chesney was one of my favorite Art instructors at the UT Art Dept. I went on to become a Medical Illustrator, then became Paramedic then Critical Care Nurse!!!! Had to pay the bills! Loved intaglio with Chesney!
My studies the UT Art Dept was the happiest time of my entire life. I mean that. Nothing I have done since professionally or personally have never lived up to what I learned, grew as a person and be accepted for the creative person I am. I never found that happiness again. Mr Chesney was a great positive leader and down to earth guy. Thank you sir. Blessings to your friends and family and to all my fellow artists out there! Hookem Horns ya”ll. Elizabeth Jackson Gee Morgan

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