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Obituary for Doris Lee

Ponca City Now - December 20, 2017 10:53 am

Doris E. Lee

January 20, 1921 – December 17, 2017

Doris E. Lee, age 96, resident of Denver, CO, formerly of Ponca City, passed away December 17, 2017.

Doris was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on January 20, 1921. Her parents were Freida and Jacob Test, who had immigrated to the United States from Lubovl, Russia. Doris was the seventh of eight children in the family including seven girls and one boy.

When Doris was a teenager, she helped in her father’s millinery store in the heart of downtown Kansas City. She liked going there. Sometimes she would be there on Saturdays and would go to Kress’s Dime Store and buy the salesladies their lunches. Steak sandwiches were 5 cents at that time! She graduated from Kansas City’s Central High School and later attended stenotype secretarial school.

After completing the stenography course, she was employed by Bernice Jackson’s court reporting service. While associated in this manner, Doris worked for various law firms temporarily when they needed extra help and she was sent around to them. She worked for one large law firm after she left Bernice’s agency.

Doris met her future husband, Nathan Sam Lee, thanks to her neighbor, who introduced them to each other. Nathan came to Kansas City to buy merchandise for Sam Lee’s Men’s Wear in Ponca City, Oklahoma, where he was born and grew up. For their first date he took Doris to the market to buy clothes for the store.

According to Lee legend, he almost was scared away. On his first visit to see Doris, he got off the bus and as he walked to her home, a different neighbor had a dog that started barking viciously at this dapper stranger. But Nathan remained undaunted, determined to court the charming court reporter – and continued toward her front door. Luckily, the ferocious pooch next door stayed behind a fence.

Then it was a long-distance romance with letters — and the intrepid suitor dared to return to Kansas City a time or two. She thought that he was very nice — the general way he acted. He invited her to come on the train to Ponca City, where she met his parents, sister and the sister’s children. He asked Doris to marry him, and she agreed.

Doris and Nathan were married on Nov. 11, 1949, in the presence of loved ones at a Kansas City hotel. For about the first year as newlyweds, the pair lived in a garage apartment owned by her in-laws, Sam and Sadie Lee, in Ponca City.

Doris and Nathan then purchased and moved into a house near downtown in Ponca, where they devoted themselves also to raising their children, Elaine and Mark. It was the same house where Doris and Nathan lived contentedly for many more years after the kids were on their own in other states.

When the children reached school age, Doris worked as a secretary for Bi-State Mental Health Foundation in Ponca City. She was a charter member and long-time member of that town’s Temple Emanuel and served the congregation as an officer and in additional supportive roles, such as compiling the newsletter and sending acknowledgments. She enjoyed playing mahjong, baking and cooking, walking, visiting with friends and most of all, taking care of her family. In later years, as relatives and friends in turn helped tend to her needs, she greatly appreciated their caring ways, especially after injuries from several falls.

But Doris wasn’t done. At 93, she embarked from Ponca City to Denver, a whole “New World,” far from her home of 62 years in Oklahoma, but destined to become her home away from home. She gradually acclimated, being closer to children and grandchildren allowing interaction with them much more often, much to all their delight. Though she had dozens of extraordinarily compassionate, capable care-givers – and usually competent children, Elaine and Mark — all along her grandkids proved to be her best medicine. Each one – Jake, Sam, Ezra, Eve and Elsa — was pure magic in her eyes and brought incomparable smiles of joy to her lips.

Still brave for new adventures, still growing in experience, and still fighting her new-fangled thermostat in her apartment, she adapted to all her new neighbors at Brookdale.

Mountain View and surroundings, complete with blue skies, scenic vistas and without humidity, which seemed to agree with her. Appreciative of the attention and assistance of care-givers whose kindnesses helped to keep her as comfortable as possible, she carried on in remarkable health until her Colorado chapter drew to a close during Hanukkah at age 96, a couple weeks shy of the new year, 2018, and a month before she would have made a wish and blown out 97 birthday candles.

Survivors include her children: Elaine Lee and husband John Sackett of Denver, CO & Mark Lee and wife Lisa Giefer of Cupertino, CA; sister Neva Bennett of Stamford, CT; grandchildren: Elsa, Eve, Ezra, Sam & Jake.

Doris was preceded in death by her parents, husband Nathan, as well as her siblings: Frances, Belle, Anne, Meyer, Ida, and Pearl.

A funeral ceremony will be held at 2:00PM Thursday, December 21, 2017 at Temple Emanuel, 1201 E. Highland Ave., Ponca City, OK 74601. Following the ceremony, she will be laid to rest next to her husband Nathan at the Resthaven Memorial Park. Services are under the direction of Trout Funeral Home & Crematory.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Jewish Family Service of Colorado, 3201 S. Tamarac Dr., Denver, CO 80231 or Ponca City Opportunity Center, 2225 N. Union St., Ponca City, OK 74601-1555.

Source: Trout Funeral Home