Thomas R. Lee Jr.
OLD ORCHARD BEACH — Thomas R. Lee Jr., 69, of Old Orchard Beach, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on July 13, 2012 at Seal Rock Health Care after a brief illness.
He was born on May 19, 1943, the son of Thomas R. Lee, Sr. and Irene Marcotte Lee. Tom was the oldest of six children and graduated from Old Orchard Beach High School in 1962. While in high school, he joined the Naval Reserve and upon graduation entered the Seabees. He served during the Cuban Missle Crisis and was honorably discharged in 1967. After discharge, Tom attended Northeastern Business College in Portland, where he received an associate’s degree in Public Accounting.
Tom married Kathy Angel of Chesterland, Ohio, on July 8, 1967 after meeting her under the Ferris wheel in Old Orchard Beach during the summer of 1965. His favorite comment when asked about their meeting was, “We’ve been going round and round ever since.” Most recently while Tom was in the hospital, he arranged for the delivery of a beautiful bouquet to ensure that their 45th wedding anniversary was still special. This was just one of the many generous acts Tom did throughout the years.
Tom served on the Old Orchard Beach Town Council from 1966-68. At that time, he was the youngest town councilor ever elected in Maine. He served as council chairman in 1967.
In the early years of their marriage, Tom worked for the Biddeford-Saco Journal, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and then served for several years as the manager of Crane Heating and Plumbing and then F.W. Webb Plumbing Supply in Portland. After leaving F.W. Webb, he owned and operated Samson Plumbing and Heating Supply in Biddeford for many years. After closing Samson Supply, he started FunTime Festivals, a carnival that traveled mostly in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont and did small family festivals from May to October. His entire family helped with this business for 20 years before it was sold. The wide variety of people he met in the “carny” business over the years provided a colorful background to his many stories and an interesting slice of life for his family.
Tom always kept his public accounting business practice even while working for other companies and that practice grew into a full-time, and then some, business over the years. He believed in the small business community and helped many hundreds of clients lead successful businesses. One of his hallmarks was his ready availability for his clients at times convenient for them and his devoted support for their business needs. He was generous with his time and could often be found sharing stories or helping out a friend.
Tom loved to hunt and it was his true passion. He looked forward to hunting season every fall and thoroughly enjoyed hunting in Maine with his brother and other friends. Recently, he traveled to Pennsylvania and Florida for hunting trips. He relished teaching his grandson, Isaac, how to hunt and took him hunting in the Florida Everglades where they shot a boar. It was a crowning achievement for both of them.
Tom held memberships in the American Legion, Disabled Veterans, Amvets, NRA, the Lions, SBB and was a past member of United Commercial Travelers.
Tom and Kathy have two daughters, Rebecca and Tamara and their third daughter, Renee Muldowney joined their family when she was in high school. One of Tom’s great joys was his four grandchildren. He truly loved doing things with them such as lobster bakes, taking them on the rides in Old Orchard, going out to dinner with ice cream treats afterwards, and special family trips to Disney, Storyland, Santa’s Village and the Miami Zoo. During Lent, he would get up early to purchase a special order of hot cross buns and pastries for the grandchildren. He loved to treat all the kids to gooey pastries to the chagrin of their parents! His daughters and grandchildren knew he was a soft touch and could always somehow get what they wanted.
Tom’s recent illness has been upsetting to the entire family. His grandson, Isaac, was determined to do something for his grandpa so he decided to start the “Grandpa Fund for Cancer Research.” Isaac has been saving one half of his daily snack allowance in a milk jug to raise money for a cancer cure. He solicited his friends and brought change home each day. The family hopes to continue the “Grandpa’s Fund for Cancer Research” so that “We can kill cancer,” as Isaac says.
Tom was predeceased by his parents, Tom and Irene Lee; and a brother Terry Lee.
Besides his wife, Kathy Angel Lee, he is survived by daughters Rebecca Vazquez of Naples, Fla., Tamara Pinard of Gray and Renee Muldowney of San Francisco, Calif.; four grandchildren; brothers, Robert Lee of Nashua, N.H. and Michael Lee of Denmark; sisters, Deborah Lee of Houston, Texas and Catherine Sturtevant of Manchester, N.H; and seven nieces and seven nephews.
Calling hours were on Tuesday at the Old Orchard Beach Funeral Home. Prayers and a celebration of life were held on Wednesday, July 18, at the American Legion Hall, 14 Imperial Street, Old Orchard Beach. Burial will be at the Southern Maine Veterans’ Cemetery, Stanley Road, Springvale, on Friday, July 20 at 10 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Grandpa’s Fund for Cancer Research, Maine Cancer Foundation, 170 US Route 1, Suite 250, Falmouth, ME 04105 or www.maine.cancer.org