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January 24, 2020

11/27/2019 11:11:00 AM
John Thomas Lee

John Thomas Lee, 71, died peacefully on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, in Windom. His family surrounded him with love, light and a steady stream of blues guitar radio in his final days.
John was a strong and spirited man; an eternal optimist, a fighter. In the six years that he battled Multiple Myeloma, he never complained. Really! He maintained his incredible positive outlook through weekly chemo treatments in Minneapolis (weekly - for six years!) and several months-long hospitalizations. He remained upbeat and a pleasure to be around in the toughest of circumstances.
John was always "all-in," no matter the endeavor, and lived his life without regret. He was a force with a big personality and a quick smile, and he is already sorely missed by many.
John was born to Dolores Ellis Lee and Roman George Lee on July 22, 1948, in Austin. He grew up in Jackson and graduated in the class of '66. He loved to tell stories about his childhood in Jackson - his granddaughters especially loved to hear about the mischief he got himself into (and out of). He loved sports and was a gifted athlete, and was eventually recruited to play football for the University of Minnesota.
He raced quarter midgets and enjoyed being part of the pit crew for sprint car racing. He enjoyed the competition and camaraderie of athletics, and continued to play on a basketball league into his 60s, and golfed regularly throughout his life.
After he left the U of M, John began a life-long career as a heavy equipment blade operator, building roads across Minnesota and Iowa. He had an entrepreneurial spirit and started several companies over the years: Northwest Cedar Products sold cedar lumber, building supplies and shingles; Cedar Furniture manufactured outdoor cedar furniture; Got Rock supplied rock and boulders for landscaping, lakeshore restoration and erosion control.
John had friends everywhere he went - if he didn't, he made one. He could (and would) talk to anyone. He always found a way to relate and spoke fondly of all he knew. He loved the outdoors - working outside as often as possible, gardening with Sue, pheasant hunting with his dogs, Buddy and Emma, and sitting outside shooting the breeze with his many friends.
John leaves behind his beloved wife of 48 years, Susan (Windom), and his son Johnny, daughter-in-law Emily, and granddaughters Elsa and Tess of Madison, Wis. His granddaughters were truly the light of his life; he adored them and they, he. He is survived by his siblings: Ron Lee (Helena, Mont.), Ramona Scarth (Henderson, Nev.), Mary Pressler (Flower Mound, Texas), Lori Mikkelson (Washington, Mo.); sister-in-law, Evon Lee (Oklahoma City, Okla.); brother-in-law, Kent Lundstrom and wife Ann (Northfield), and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Richard Lee; in-laws: Bruce Scarth, Sue Clarke Lee and Gary Pressler; nephews, Tom Lee and Nathan Mikkelson; and mother-in-law, Vivian Downs.
John loved to socialize and was always up for a good time. In this spirit, a party, a celebration of life, will be held in his honor at the Windom Country Club in Windom on Saturday, Nov. 30, from 1 to 5 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorials to the family are appreciated.

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