George Bradford Lee went home to be with the Lord and his many wonderful, loving friends and relatives on January 23, 2020.
He made a great and positive impact to all of us who knew and love him. Many people, after meeting George, left with a smile on their face and a funny story to remember, maybe asking themselves, “was that really true?”
George died young, as some would see it, but he lived a productive life filled with work, family, community service and many friends. He had a unique ability to pack two days into every one day with a work-hard and play-hard fishing ethic he picked up early in life.
George was born to “Bill” and Helen Lee on May 18, 1956, in Kodiak. He lived on the Navy Base until 1961, and then was raised mostly on Mission Road with his older siblings Charley and Candy plus many other kids in the neighborhood who always felt welcomed in their home.
After graduating from Kodiak High School in 1974, he went to Denver Automotive and Diesel College and learned the art of auto body mechanics. He married Janie when he was still a fisherman and helped raise her daughter Stacie. Then in 1989 he married Connie, adopted her son Shawn, and together they had Frank.
George fished the waters of Kodiak and out West for many years, then went on to become an expert in auto body repair and worked both privately and for the USCG Base Contractors.
In 1999 he met Tonya, a girl who loved him beyond measure. They married and had two children, Nevin and Carlie. George became leadman for the Motorpool in 2006, ran the shop, directed the boat work on base and enjoyed planning BBQs with his coworkers whenever possible.
In addition to being arguably the best husband, dad and family man in the world, George included many extracurricular activities into his life on a regular basis.
He spent his time coaching adult softball and all his kids’ Little League teams each year. He helped bring the boy’s Little League All Star teams to Anchorage for several summers and also the girl’s All Star Softball team in 2018.
Wednesday Night Bowling League, Pioneer’s and Women’s Bay Road Service Committee were also a part of his everyday desire to serve. In his early 30s he was exalted ruler for the Elk’s Club and was instrumental in making positive and lasting changes. Later, he joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary and was elected flotilla commander.
Of all the organizations he was involved in, perhaps he had the most passion for Special Olympics. He did not let anything get in the way of being a friend to the athletes in Kodiak. He became the director of Kodiak Area Special Olympics, and for most of his adult life he participated, coached and traveled with the floor hockey, bowling or bocce program.
His involvement culminated when he was head of delegation at the World Games in Ireland in 2003. Special Olympics was such a big part of his life, many athletes across the state knew him by name.
George loved to visit and be a part of practical jokes. He made special trips to visit close friends in the hospital and made them laugh until they forgot they were sick. George could not only make a room rumble with laughter from his stories of the past, he also never ceased packing his life with more and more adventures. He constructed each side of his house until it became his dream home in Bells Flats.
He taught his kids the pure pleasure and honest pride in hunting, fishing, building, repairing things, raising chickens, gardening, and being a genuine friend and person.
Every year in March, he took his family on a vacation to LaPaz, Mexico, a place he affectionately looked forward to after working a long winter.
In 2012 he purchased land (site unseen) in Uyak Bay on the other side of Kodiak Island so he could build a hunting cabin. He enclosed the cabin and dreamed of spending a winter there with a gun, some books and a big bag of rice.
Diagnosed with colon cancer in 2017, George continued to work and lead a full life, weaving in doctor appointments with a hope for a cure.
He decided to buy a home in Arizona where he could spend the winters in the sunshine with friends from Kodiak who had also moved there.
In the fall of 2019, he finally retired. He drove the AlCan with his family just like he had done when he was their age. It was a beautiful dream that was nearly cut short by his illness.
George set his sights high in Arizona and found a remarkable home on the foothills of the Superstition Mountains. There, he was surrounded by beautiful scenery, wildlife, sunsets and telling stories with all the wonderful company he had from Kodiak.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to your favorite charity, hospice or Kodiak Area Special Olympics.
There will be a Celebration of Life Potluck for George at the Elks Lodge on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020.
The family wishes to collect stories that you had with George. Please send them to email@example.com
Thank you so much to all the wonderful friends who filled George’s life with prayer and hope and good thoughts. You all meant so much to him and his family.