OBITUARY

William P. Lee

December 12, 1930September 15, 2020
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William P. (Bill) Lee, 89 died September 15, 2020, with loved ones in attendance. He will be missed by all lucky enough to have known him.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Carol; children Richard (Virginia), Barbara (Douglas) Eichhorn and Robert; grandchildren Michael (Richard and Virginia), Billy and Katie (Barbara and Douglas); brother Vincent (Jennifer); cousin William Dodd; and his many nephews and nieces, many with life partners and children of their own, all of whom he adored and cared for: Shaun (Mary and Olivia) Rice; Daniel (Karen, Maggie and Siobhan) Rice; William (Billy) Rice; Tara (John, Ryan, Tyler and Kaitlyn) McCormick; Karen Rice; Candy (William, Will, Douglas, Violet and Michael) Judd; as well as cousins, second- third- and fourth- by blood, marriage and convention, all and every always family, always in his thoughts, often recipients of calls, cards and unsolicited gifts.

He was predeceased by brothers Arthur (Brother William Lee, FMS) and Thomas (Tommy); dearest sister Mary (John Rice); niece Maureen; son William; revered aunt Tessie and her husband Bill Dodd; special cousin, more like a brother, Walter Troescher; and his parents, William and Mary (McNally), Irish immigrants from counties Leitrim and Monaghan (respectively), who made their ways to and enabled lives for us all in America.

William P. Lee was born in NYC on December 12, 1930. The family—parents, five children and assorted “Kitchen Cousins” supported by his father’s good fortune and work ethic and his extraordinary mother’s indomitable spirit during the Great Depression—moved from Harlem to the West Bronx, settling into St. Nicholas of Tolentine (RC) parish, a bustling working-class neighborhood with (now defunct) elementary and high schools as centers of the post-war baby boom. After four years of military service in 1950-54, Bill returned to assist the family, marrying the fiendishly bright Carol Rueppel, daughter of a defense-industry engineer, in 1956. When his father died in 1957, Bill became the strong tent pole of this extended family. Bill and Carol raised their three surviving children in the Bronx until the middle 1970s, when Bill retired as a NYC Detective, Grade 2, working many years in the 47 Precinct Detective Squad. He transferred at his own request late in his career to the Bronx Sex Crimes Unit, precursor and innovators in work that is now standard, devoted to stopping those who prey on others in heinous ways.

Bill was a proud Navy veteran of the Korean War era, and he spent 17 years, off- and on-again, attending night school at the John Jay College campus of CUNY. He accomplished that invisible commitment without complaint, his default setting, but shared the joy of learning, of knowing things and being curious, with his children in the Bronx. He did all this even while working more than full time and driving a cab occasionally to make ends meet and enable summer vacations on the Jersey Shore every year for his family. He was unstintingly generous. He worked for many years in NJ after retirement in the New Jersey State Wage and Hour Investigations Unit—getting fair treatment and redress for people treated poorly. He was honorable, stoic and steadfast. He never let down a friend or family member, never missed an opportunity to be charitable. He also never tipped less than 40%. He never let facts get in the way of a good story. He was an acute horse handicapper and intuitive balancer of statistical possibilities, but he also advised boxing 3-1-5 as an Exacta bet, bowing to the inevitability of Chance, not Planning in wagering on people pretending that animals, which he loved to his core, could be predictable. He imbued in his descendants a love of fine dining, of movies and trivia, of good liquor and the benefits of discipline: instructions on that latter they took more or less to heart. He never met a dog he didn’t love. His was cremated at his request on Friday September 18 at 10:15am, joined in this passing with photos of loved ones, a favorite paper opened to the racing form, some B & B, and a favored book among other tokens of his commitments to others. His piercing ice-blue eyes could freeze in his prime the unwary, but his effortless smile and unforgettable laugh softened the hard-won policeman’s insights into human nature. His quiet constancy, his formidable presence and his selfless leadership provided models for his children and grandchildren, several of whom pursued and achieved advanced academic degrees and work in higher education, one of whom is now serving in the Marines, another working at NASA. We owe him more than we can say.

The family is deeply appreciative of the care Dad received at A.O. Fox Memorial Nursing Home in his last year. The extraordinary nursing staff at Fox Hospital, One North, are also in our thoughts: their compassion and care in his last days made his passage dignified. We will not forget their many quiet kindnesses, putting people before paper.

There will be a visitation with a service immediately following on Friday, October 2nd from 4-6pm in Oneonta NY, the service to be live streamed and archived by those entrusted with his final care: Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home. There will be an interment / service in New Jersey TBA. Given our cultural moment, no more than 25 visitors can attend the service, but remembrances sent to rememberwilliamplee@gmail.com will be read and recorded. Please identify yourself so we can honor your reflections.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in his name to either A.O. Fox Memorial Nursing Home or to Superheroes in Ripped Jeans—an animal rescue foundation in upstate NY. Other favored charities include the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Mom and Dad were and are devoted to animals and to all others in need.

Services

  • Calling Hours

    Friday, October 2, 2020

  • Livestream Prayer Service

    Friday, October 2, 2020

    VIEW VIDEO

Memories

William P. Lee

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Tara McCormick

October 2, 2020

Rest In Peace Uncle Bill... Will miss you and will miss listening to your stories
❤️🙏 Love Tara, John,Tyler and Kaitlyn

Shaun Rice

September 30, 2020

Great memories of wonderful conversations with my Uncle Bill! May Perpetual Light shine upon him.

Vinny Lee

September 28, 2020

My Brother Bill at 2 years old and Bill and our oldest brother Arthur around 1939. 3 years before I arrived on the scene.

Bill You were like a father to me. Say hello to Mom, Pop, Arthur, Tommy, Mary and Walter.

Love and prayers forever.

Your kid brother Vinny

Melissa Wilson

September 25, 2020

Please accept my condolences on “ Bill’s” passing I was his caretaker almost every night and he filled my heart always, I feel very blessed to have been able to know him and care for him, I will never forget him watching down the hallway and calling for me nightly, He has a piece of my heart with him always, he will forever be missed. I’m glad he can rest easy now

Richard Couden

September 18, 2020

Please accept my most sincere condolences on Bill's passing. I met Bill about 35 years ago. Richie and I went to visit his parents in NJ. When I was introduced, his father gave me a firm hand. As a friend of his son, he smiled and looked me in the eye like we too would be friends forever. So it came to pass. I will think of his laughter, his stories, and the time I spent with Bill as a blessing. To the entire Lee family , know that my thoughts and prayers are with you. This is an irish prayer read at the services for my mother and brother. May it comfort you.
"Safely Home" .
I am home in heaven, dear ones;
Oh so happy and so bright!
There is perfect joy and beauty
In this everlasting light.

All the pain and grief is over,
Every restless tossing passed;
I am now at peace forever,
Safely home in heaven at last.

Did you wonder how I so calmly
Trod the valley of the shade?
Oh, but Jesus' love illumined
Every dark and fearful glade.

And he came himself to meet me
In that way so hard to tread;
And with Jesus' arm to lean on,
Could I have one doubt or dread?

Then you must not grieve so sorely,
For I love you dearly still;
Try to look beyond earth's shadows,
Pray to trust our Father's will.

There is work still waiting for you,
So you must not idly stand;
Do it now, while life remains,
You shall rest in Jesus' land.

When that work is all completed,
He will gently call you home;
Oh, the rapture of that meeting,
Oh, the joy to see you come!

Billy Rice

September 18, 2020

A wonderful guy who always managed to make everyone feel a little more special. We will miss you, Uncle Billy.

-Billy & Billy

Barbara Eichhorn

September 18, 2020

Dad

We love you and miss you. Rest easy now

Barbara, Doug, Billy and Katie

FROM THE FAMILY
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