Gary Allen Lee, age 77, of Zumbrota, passed away peacefully on April 6th, 2023, surrounded by loved ones at Cottagewood Senior Communities, where he had been a resident since 2019, as a result of Lewy Body Dementia.
He was born January 25, 1946, in Faribault, MN, to Charles and Arlene (Jacobson) Lee. He grew up in Mazeppa and Pine Island and graduated from Pine Island High School, class of 1965. Gary proudly served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War as an Electronic Technician Petty Officer Class 2 and was stationed in the Mediterranean on a minesweeper. He received the National Defense Service Medal and finished his service in the Naval Reserve. Gary went on to complete schooling in electronics. He spent most of his career as a computer analyst, designing flight simulation programs for Northwest Airlines, working for HealthPartners, and being self-employed as a consultant. He continually studied the newest technology and coding methods. Later, he worked for Rochester Direct Transit & Groome Transportation, driving the airport shuttle and supporting their computer system.
Gary married Diane (Gibbons) Brown in 1970, and he had the fortune to become stepdad to his beloved daughters, Karen and Melissa. Then, Gary and Diane were blessed with their wonderful son, Brian. The family made their home in Ft. Lauderdale and Boca Raton, Florida. After their divorce, Gary returned to MN. He was married briefly to Sara Granrud Linker. Later he met Angie Jensen, and they enjoyed many years together, remaining close friends up until the end of Gary’s life. And we can’t talk about family without mentioning his adorable animal companion, “Buddy” (a Bichon Frise), who enriched his life beyond measure.
Gary took great pleasure in playing golf, tennis, bowling, biking, and following the MN Gophers. He and Angie even took up dancing lessons and became quite adept at Salsa…well, at least Angie did. He will be remembered for his private nature, quick wit, and wry sense of humor. Gary was always eager to help out and could be counted on to offer his opinion and solution to pretty much any problem or situation, even without being asked. Throughout his life, Gary enjoyed his friendships, and this continued into his years at Cottagewood Memory Care, where he thrived and left this world with a peaceful heart.
He is survived by stepdaughters, Karen and Melissa Brown and their families of Florida; sister, Judy Rietmann of Zumbrota; brothers, Ken (Ella) and Jerry (Shirley) Lee of Zumbrota; numerous nieces, nephews and cousins; and many dear friends, including Angie Jensen and family. He is preceded in death by his beloved son, Brian; parents, Charles and Arlene; infant sister, Patricia; brother, Steven; brother-in-law, Charles Rietmann; and “Buddy”.
The family is grateful for and would like to extend a special thank you to Nancy Hovey, for her kindness, care, and commitment to Gary for the past four years, as well as to Cottagewood and Mayo Hospice staff for their compassionate care.
A celebration of life for Gary will be held Saturday, May 13, 2023 at 11:00AM at Mahn Family Funeral Home, 1475 Jefferson Dr., Zumbrota, MN 55992. Gary's niece and Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant, Joey Lee, will officiate. Visitation will be from 10:00AM until the time of the service. There will be a time to gather at the Zumbrota VFW after the service, and interment with military honors will follow at Pine Island Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers or memorials, call a friend or relative you have yet to reach out to. Visit someone who may be struggling. Forgive someone. All acts of kindness are appreciated.
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