Robert “Bob” E. Lee, 93, loving husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather passed away on July 22, 2019. He was born on January 29, 1926 in Topeka, the son of Willis H. and Rill Eva Lee. He was educated in Topeka, attending Roosevelt Junior High and graduating from Topeka High School in 1944. In April of 1944 he joined the United States Marine Corps where he served until April of 1946. He served in the South Pacific on the Marshall Islands, Carolina Islands, and Ryukyu Islands in Okinawa, Japan.
In 1946, Bob enrolled at Washburn University where he was on the football team and track teams. In 1947, he started a professional baseball career with the Joplin Minors in the Western Association League. He played professional baseball in the minor leagues through the 1951 season with the Topeka Owls.
Bob was very active at Washburn University, serving as their baseball coach in 1960. He also served on the Washburn Board of Regents, Ichabod Board, Alumni Association, Lincoln Society, Washburn University Foundation, and he and his wife, Sallee, started the Robert E. and Sallee Lee Athletic Scholarship. In 1984, the basketball arena at Washburn was named after them, and Bob was also given the President’s “W” Award.
Professionally, Bob was realtor, developer, appraiser, starting Lee Realtors in 1955, and later Lee and Bueltel Realtors and Lee and Bueltel Construction Company. He also served as president of the Topeka Board of Realtors, Topeka Multiple Listing Exchange, Society of Real Estate Appraisers and American Society of Appraisers, and he was the first Kansan to receive the CAE (certified assessment evaluator) certification.
In 1971, he was a partner in Cablevision of Topeka, the company that first brought cable TV to Topeka.
Throughout his professional life, Bob had a slogan on his desk that read “Luck is the crossroads of where planning and opportunity meet.”
Bob also served on multiple boards in Topeka including the YMCA, American Red Cross, St. Francis Hospital foundation, Urban Renewal Advisory Board, Family Guidance Center, Rotary Club, Topeka Capitals, Topeka Recreation Commission, Human Relations Commission, and served as the president of the 20-30 Club and Cosmopolitan Club.
Bob was an avid sports fan enjoying baseball, softball, golf and tennis. He managed and sponsored multiple baseball and slow pitch softball teams, his 1982 Lee and Bueltel softball team won the USSSA Kansas State Championship and finished 9th in the ASA Major Men’s Nationals in Parma, Ohio.
Mr. Lee is survived by his wife, Sallee, and their three children, Gregory A. Lee (Jenny), Topeka, Dr. David Lee, Houston, TX, and Debbie Florence (Stacy), Topeka; four grandchildren, Emily Dore, (Jim) Overland Park, Amy Nohl, (Brent) Prairie Village, Bobby Florence, (Jazmin) Lawrence, LeKeevis Lee (preceded him in death) and six great grandchildren.
Memorial contributions can be made to Washburn University Athletics Fund, 1700 SW College, Topeka, KS, 66604 or Prince of Peace Church, 3625 SW Wanamaker, Topeka, KS, 66614.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, August 2, 2019 at Faith Lutheran Church, 1716 SW Gage Blvd, Topeka.
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