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Richard Vernon Lee

10/25/1927 - 08/13/2018
Service Date: 08/20/2018
Service Time: 9:45 AM
Service Location: Bunker's Garden Chapel, 33 North Centennial Way, Mesa, Arizona 85201
Interment: National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, 1212 North Center Street, Mesa, Arizona 85201

Dr. Richard Vernon Lee passed away peacefully at home in Mesa, Arizona on August 13, 2018 after a courageous battle with cancer. Until the end, his friendliness, intellect and humor endeared him to everyone who knew him.

Dr. Lee was born on October 25, 1927 at his parents’ home in West Frankfort, Illinois. His father, Vernon Ralph Lee, and mother Margaret (nee Eubanks), raised him to be a hard worker who cherished music, adventure and the outdoors.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Fada Ruth Titterton. He is survived by his loving wife Ruth (nee Burris), and three children, Nancy Lee, Rebecca Nosker, and Richard Lee. He has five grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

From his boyhood paper route to his position advising Southern Illinois University on its new medical school, Dr. Lee met all challenges with discipline, resolve and optimism while treating every person he met with equal esteem. He worked hard and played hard. He hunted, fished and boated avidly. He took great pleasure in co-owning and flying an airplane. While practicing medicine in Illinois, Indiana, and Arizona as a Director of University Health Services and emergency room and sports medicine doctor, he also took sabbaticals to work as a medical missionary in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, and Niger.

If you were around Richard Lee for long, you knew him to be a great storyteller. From his hunting misadventures, to his harrowing voyage in an Army troop ship on the way to Okinawa in 1946, to flying strange and dangerous cargo with a friend, he could keep you laughing while on the edge of your seat. His loyal wife Ruth stuck with him through it all.

A visitation will be held at 9:00am with services at 9:45am on Monday, August 20, 2018 at Bunker’s Garden Chapel, 33 North Centennial Way, Mesa, Arizona. Interment will be held at the National Memorial Cemetery, 23029 North Cave Creek Road, Phoenix, Arizona.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that gifts be made in honor of Dr. Richard Lee to Banner Hospice at https://tinyurl.com/y84o53q5 or by mail to Banner Hospice, Banner Health Foundation, 2901 N. Central Avenue, Suite 160, Phoenix, AZ 85012. For more information, please see https://www.bannerhealthfoundation.org/ways-to-give/memorial-gifts


  • A True Gentleman!

  • Love and thoughts to all.Loved that womderful Christian man.I worked with Him in emegencydept in Bloomington In for several yrs.He was such akind respectful man. We had lots to talk about and also He becamw a good friend to my Husband and they did lots of things together.We always intended to write a bk together about ourED adventures.I know He knew where He was going and God speed.

  • Dr. Lee one a kind,, no doubt

  • Rick Wall and Barbara Bradford Eschbach

    Rick and I will be with you in spirit on Monday. The obituary is wonderful and describes clearly the life of a remarkable man! Love, R&B

  • wendy hale davis

    Your dad took me up in his plane for my first ride in a private plane. It was s thrilling to buzz my house and see the world from a small plane… So different from being flown on a jet. I truly felt like I was flying – he let me handle the controls for a little bit – for the first time. I’ll never forget it. What a remarkable man!

  • I have known Dick Lee for approximately 45 years. First became acquainted with him in Rhodesia in the 70’s where we worked as missionary physicians. Following our return to the States we worked together as ER docs in Bloomington, IN. Dick always cared about his patients. We were fellow disciples of Jesus at the Ellettsville Christian Church in Indiana. Dick and his family hold warm spots in my heart. Dick has finally ridden off into the sunset for the last time to his eternal reward.

  • Dr. Lee was a true gentleman who exemplified kindness. He was humble, genuine, and told the best stories. My condolences to his family.

  • Richard Lee was a dear friend and partner in emergency medicine. Knowing Dick was a real joy in my life. I have deep respect for him, his faith and his wonderful wife. l will always remember him – especially the cork board he put in our emergency department doctors’ office so we could stick all the fish hooks we removed from people. There were scores and scores of a great variety of hooks. We laughed and talked about that many times. Prayers for Ruth and the rest of the family.

  • Dick, my partner, colleague, and friend who moved west after sharing working together in the Emergency Department together for a number of years, and out of my life but never out of my thoughts. He was a great doctor who was loved by his patients and nurses but a frustration to administration as he loved to spend too much time with the patient. Love to his lovely family and my sympathies to Ruth and kids

  • Please accept our condolences for the loss of Dr. Lee. We pray our loving Heavenly Father (Psalm 83:18) grants you peace during this difficult time.

  • Deborah Garland MD

    Such a great, humble and brilliant teacher. He was my mentor at ASU,and a big reason I went into Sports medicine and became the first female Team Physician for ASU. I think about him often, and tried to teach my residents with the same enthusiasm and practical perspective he taught me. I am thankful he was a part of my life, and is still missed …

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