Otto "Terry" Terrance Lee
October 16, 1956 – September 15, 2021
Otto Terrance Lee (known to most as “Terry,” to some as “OT” and to at least a few as “Mr. T”) passed away from complications of Covid and Lymphoma, on September 15, 2021 after having spent nearly 65 years on this earth. He was, quite simply, the best there ever was. Terry was born on October 16th, 1956 in Newtown Square, PA to his mother, Elizabeth, who absolutely adored him, his father, Otto Clarence, and his older brother, Ted. He grew up in a household where he learned to be loving and kind, judicious and fair, hardworking and overall a decent man. But his most important qualities surely weren’t taught, they were his birthright: an uncanny ability to make people feel happy when they were with him, to be the life of the party, to inspire laughter and warmth wherever he went. At the same time, he was a humble man who never seemed to realize that, for many people, he was standing on a pedestal that they watched with reverence. In high school at Marple Newtown he made a group of lifelong friends that love him deeply to this day. They used to spend their evenings sitting around his kitchen table chatting with his mom, Betty, for hours. She was everyone’s favorite -- and little did he know that he would one day step into his mother’s shoes and become such a loved figure for his own children’s friends. He attended the University of Dayton where he met the love of his life, Mary Ellen O’Brien (64, Centerville, OH), after she saw him playing flag football on a campus field. His long, 70s-style hair was likely what caught her eye in the beginning, but the way he loved this woman with his whole heart and soul is surely what kept them married for 42 years strong. She was everything to him and he was the love of her life. It was at this point, with Mary Ellen, when the rest of his life began. He married her on the 5th of May in 1979 in a tiny chapel in Newtown Square and officially joined a family of five lovely, and mostly crazy, Irish Catholic sisters of which Mary Ellen was the youngest. He loved her family as though they were his own and could always be counted on to keep their drinks -- and hearts -- full. He became close with many of his nieces and nephews, but the one that touched his heart is Casey (husband Paul). He thought of her as a daughter and loved her as one. He became successful in business, starting his career at Bush Truck Leasing company and working his way up over the years to eventually run a division of the business. Most recently, he ran a regional sales team for a Denver-based truck leasing company called Translease. They were ready to promote him to a national role when we lost him. He had never been happier or more successful in his career. In 1982, Terry became a father -- his most important role. His children, Adam (39, of Atlanta, GA) followed by Shannon (36, of Silver Spring, MD), knew him as a sturdy and supportive presence who never missed a soccer game or dance recital. He was extremely proud of their accomplishments and he guided each of them to value themselves and their own happiness. He taught Adam the importance of family and the value of being present. Adam is a better father and husband to his family because of the example he set. He taught Shannon to embrace being a rule follower because she clearly inherited this from him, and she learned to rely on his sense of integrity as a guidepost in her own life. She is a strong, confident woman today because he loved her. When they grew into adulthood, Adam and Shannon ultimately realized just how cool he actually was. He loved his music, kept an extensive record collection (before the medium went obsolete), and learned to dance while watching Soul Train on TV growing up in the 70s. True to form, he never hesitated to break out his moves for the delight of any curious friend, acquaintance or bystander. And his laugh -- well, it was quite a laugh he had. Shannon worked for years to try to emulate it to no avail. He was truly one of a kind. Terry was able to see both of his children marry the loves of their lives, Adam to Lauren and Shannon to Dan. From their father, Adam learned how to love, respect and cherish a talented and strong woman and Shannon learned how to demand that kind of love from another. He eventually became a Pop Pop to Eliza (5), Colin (3) and Ofelia (2). Though he will only have been in their lives briefly, he made his mark. Eliza will always miss his tickles, Colin will miss his best buddy and Ofelia, having just learned how to say “Pop Pop,” will come to know him well through countless stories, photos and laughter. A visitation for Terry will be held on Friday, October 15th, at Tobias Funeral Home (5471 Far Hills Ave. in Centerville) from 4 - 7 pm. In lieu of a service, the family will be hosting a celebration of his life the following evening of Saturday, October 16th -- his 65th birthday -- outdoors at the Yankee Trace Community & Pool Center (915 Yankee Trace Dr. in Centerville) from 4 - 8 pm. All who want to remember him are welcome. The family asks that because of the circumstances of his death, any eligible adult be fully vaccinated and wear a mask indoors in order to attend. Children are, of course, welcome as well. He was predeceased by his parents, Elizabeth & Otto C. Lee; step-mother, Frances “Pat” Lee; sisters-in-law, Peggy Jacobs & Eileen Stokes He is survived by wife, Mary Ellen Lee; son & family, Adam & Lauren Lee, Eliza & Colin; daughter & family, Shannon & Dan Kowalczyk, Ofelia; niece & family, Casey & Paul Johnston; brother, Ted Lee.
Gathering of Family and Friends
Friday, October 15, 2021
Celebration of Terry's Life
Saturday, October 16, 2021
Otto "Terry" Terrance Lee
October 18, 2021
I had the pleasure of meeting Terry through work. He was always "on it" for us. I work for Volvo Construction Equipment in California. I called him up for help with a lease and he never hesitated in helping me out. He would come visit us often to make sure that all of our needs were met. He was an all around Great guy. I was so saddened when I heard of his passing and will sure miss working with him.
So very sorry for your loss.
September 30, 2021
Bob and I were saddened to learn of Terry’s passing. Prayers to you, Adam, and Shannon.
Sandy & Bob Vogt
September 26, 2021
Mary, Adam and Shannon,
We are deeply saddened by your loss 😪
Terry was such an amazing husband and father and Pop Pop! He can never be replaced in our hearts. He has touched so many with his wonderful sense of humor and kindness! We are forever here for you and will be by your side through this horribly difficult time! We love you!
Sue and Tom
September 24, 2021
Our hearts go out to you and your family. We will miss seeing Terry’s smiling face. We are here if there is any thing you need.
Dianne and Tom
Lee Ann (Marianetti) VanDenBerghe
September 23, 2021
Sue-Ellen shared with me that your beloved husband passed.
I have fond memories of you, your husband and children at Q celebrations many years ago.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
September 23, 2021
I vividly remember meeting Terry for the first time. Mary Ellen (my Aunt Mimi, but only 6 years my senior) had brought him to our house on Brayton Road to meet us. Oh, how happy they were. Oh, how impossibly cool and good looking these college people were. Oh, how young we all were. And oh, how Terry just lit up that tiny kitchen on first impression. He won my mom and dad, and us kids, over immediately. I never got the impression from Terry that he fully realized this power that he had to put people at ease and make them happy. I will miss you, Uncle Terry.
September 23, 2021
So sorry for the loss of your husband, father and PopPop. We hope you find peace and comfort in your time of grief.
Phil and Diane
September 23, 2021
Mary Ellen, Adam and Shannon,
Words cannot express my sorrow when I heard that Terry had passed away. Please know that You and your families are in my thoughts and prayers as you go through this sorrowful time.
Grace & Bob