OBITUARY

William Francis Lee

On Saturday, April 13, 2019, William Francis Lee (“Bill”) beloved husband and father of four children, passed away peacefully in the presence of family at the age of 77 after a courageous and fearless battle with Cancer.

A Denver native, Bill graduated from Cathedral High School in 1959. He excelled in the classroom and on the football field. In his senior year, he made the All-State Parochial Football Team and was Cathedral’s Head Boy. He was also selected to participate in Boys State by District Court Judge Joseph E. Cook and was nominated by his state senator for admission to the U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Naval Academy and U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

Bill attended college at the nearby University of Denver, playing football. He was a wide receiver on offense and a cornerback on defense. When the school dropped its football program, he attended and played for Colorado State College, where he received a degree in teaching. On Valentine’s Day, 1962, he married Susan Spencer. They raised three sons, Greg, Chris and Brian and a daughter, Aimee.

When he was 8 years old, he would help his Grandfather, who was the night watchman at Mile High Kennel Club, with after-hour duties like turning off the lights and locking the gates. At age 12, he began working at the track during the Summer. Greyhound racing, being a summer activity, complemented his teaching job. Bill taught social studies and physical education at a junior high school in Denver for 10 years before going completely “to the dogs” in 1972. He rose through the ranks to become VP and General Manager of Mile High Kennel Club, a.k.a. The Big Store, and later expanded his role to include other Colorado tracks. Bill was considered a trailblazer in the industry and was inducted into the Greyhound Racing Hall of Fame in Abilene, KS on October 17, 2013. He served on numerous boards including the AGTOA (American Greyhound Track Operators’ Association), American Greyhound Council, and the Greyhound Racing Hall of Fame among others.

Bill had enormous passion for his family, friends, work and he lived every day to the absolute fullest. He had an infectious smile, was quick with a joke and had a rare and incredible ability to connect with people - from all walks of life. Admired and respected by so many, he touched and impacted countless people during the course of his life. He truly was an extraordinary and amazing man - an incredible Husband, Father, Grandfather, Uncle, Friend, Teacher, Coach, Hall of Famer, Master Joke Teller and Practical Joker.

Deeply loved by so many, he will forever live in our hearts.

Bill was preceded in death by his father, William, his mother, Lucille and his sister, Patricia. He is survived by his wife Susan; his four children, Greg (Maria), Chris (Lori), Aimee (Paul) and Brian (Lyn-Partner); eight grandchildren, Spencer, Colin, Denisse, Ethan, Alex, Grace, Luke and Charlotte, and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.

Memorial donations in the name of Bill may be mailed to: Greyhound Racing Hall of Fame, 407 S. Buckeye, Abilene, KS 67410. You may also call 785-263-3000 to make a donation by phone.

A Celebration of Bill’s life will be held on Friday, May 17 at 11:00a at Park Hill United Methodist Church - 5209 Montview Blvd, Denver, CO 80207. Directly following the Memorial Service, the Celebration of Bill's life will continue at a location to be determined.

Services

17 May

Memorial Service

11:00 am

Park Hill United Methodist Church

5209 Montview Blvd
Denver, CO 80207

REMEMBERING

William Francis Lee

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Jay Epstein

April 22, 2019

Dear Sue & family,
I’m so sorry to hear about Bills passing. A true gentleman, friend and expert in everything he had a passion for.

He went much too soon and it’s a huge loss for all that knew & worked with him.

Your friend,
Jay Epstein

arthur laughlin

April 22, 2019

Bill was one of the great guys in greyhound racing. He always greeted me with a great smile and strong handshake. He was so knowledgeable about our industry and always tried to do the right thing and solve any problems. He was always willing to help someone if he was able. His friendship will be missed and God Bless Bill and his family. My deepest sympathy to you.

Shane Bolender

April 22, 2019

I got to meet Bill at both the Spring and Fall Meets in Abilene, Kansas but it wasn’t until I started working with him on the Greyhound Hall of Fame board did I really get to know him.

Others have talked about his kindness and he was no different to me, a relatively speaking “wet behind the ears” track management guy. He wasn’t afraid to make fun of himself and loved to share stories of the business you could tell he loved a lot.

Bill, we are going to miss you. When you made sure you told everyone good bye last Fall I hoped for the best, and feared the worst. No more pain now.

We all shall join you one day. Reserve us a table in the clubhouse of Heaven Greyhound Park. I can’t say when I will get there for sure, but don’t hold up post time....see you later.

Marietta Brown

April 22, 2019

My memories of Bill go back to our days at Cathedral High School. He was a great friend to me and my husband, Jim. We had so many good times. Not only was Bill a jokester but also a thoughtful and loyal friend. You were blessed to be part of his colorful life. I will remember the laughter we shared on so many occasions. I know you will have many memories of laughter and love. Hold them close. Fondly, Marietta Brown

Dean and Ludeen Layfield

April 21, 2019

We have had over fifty years friendship with a wonderful, wonderful man.
An amazing husband, father and grandfather. A loss for all that have ever been
so lucky to have been blessed to be in his life. You will be greatly missed and we
love you.

John Escobedo

April 21, 2019

I knew Bill from the time I started in the dog business that was in 70's he always had a kind word for everyone never once did I see him in a bad mood he loved the greyhound business and the education business I was about to quit school but he convinced me to finish my education and I am grateful for that! R.I.P. Bill and my condolences to the family! RESPECT LOYALTY HONOR!!!

Patrick Baron

April 21, 2019

I only knew Mr. Lee for a brief time in the early eighties when I worked in the greyhound industry. I remember him to this day because he left an everlasting impression on me with they way he treated people. My condolences to his family and friends he will be greatly missed I'm sure of that🌞

Rich and Liberato liberato

April 21, 2019

We had great memories of Mr Lee. We worked for him many many years. He will be greatly missed. Rich and Marlene Liberato

thomas yoswa

April 21, 2019

Chris.....many great memories back in my radio days working with your dad and MHGP. Loved the days of meeting regularly with Bill and the lunches we had with Irv Brown. I would sit there and let them both reminisce about the good old days of greyhound racing. On the days I would sneak out of work on a Friday afternoon and either physically go to the track or to Havana Park, I would always see if your dad was there to say hello. A good man, he will be missed.

Richard Winning

April 21, 2019

Sue & Family,

There's another void in the universe, but one that contained so many memories. The many good times and places we spent together, his wit and of course his Dancing skills! You can say one thing, "He had a great Run!"

Richard Winning

FROM THE FAMILY