Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

Don Lee, 80

Don passed away peacefully in hospice care in the early morning of March 27, 2024. His wife of 57 years, Sharon, was by his side. Since January 2023, Don and Sharon have lived at Holladay Healthcare Center in Holladay, Utah. In March 2022, Don was diagnosed with what the doctors believed was Lewy Body Dementia. In November 2022, while moving from Montana to Utah to be near his son, he broke his ribs in a fall. There was another fall the following March, and Don could never recover.

Don was born on June 1, 1943, at 7:01 PM in Warren (Ohio) City Hospital to George and Mary Lee. His baptism occurred on July 4th of the same year at St. Vincent De Paul Church in Vienna, Ohio. Due to World War II, he and his mother spent his earliest years in Vienna, Ohio, on his maternal grandmother's farm (Martha Yamsek). When his father returned from the war, the family purchased a home in Alliance, Ohio, close to his paternal grandparents (George and Anna Lee). 

Don attended Alliance Public Schools. As a kid, he enjoyed long bicycle rides with friends and built and flew tethered model airplanes. As a teen, he was a member of the Civil Air Patrol and a Civil War re-enactment group. He also had a job at a paint store. He worked as a caddy at the Alliance Country Club during the summer.

In 1961, after graduating from high school, Don attended West Virginia University (WVU) in Morgantown for a year before realizing he needed more preparation and funding for higher education.  It was about this time that Vietnam became newsworthy, so he enlisted in the Air Force. Don had basic training in San Antonio, TX, Nuclear Weapons & Missile training in Colorado, and was stationed at McConnell Air Force Base, a facility of SAC (Strategic Air Command) in Wichita, Kansas. 

During his enlistment, he continued his education by attending night school classes at Wichita State University. He completed his prerequisites for studying geology. He met his wife, Sharon, while both were taking the same class at Wichita State. Their first date occurred on June 1, 1964, which was Don's 21st birthday. Sharon was surprised since this was unknown to her. They went to a steakhouse in a hotel for a celebratory meal. 

Don's enlistment ended in 1966, and he reenrolled at West Virginia University to finish his studies in geology. On August 6, 1966, Don and Sharon were married in Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Wichita. After their honeymoon on the East Coast, they set up a household in Morgantown, WV. Don was an exemplary student, graduating with his bachelor's in science in geology in August 1967. 

From there, Don began graduate school at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) to continue his studies in geology. As Don and Sharon began having a family, Don decided not to finish graduate school but instead started working at Ford Motor Company.

Don and Sharon raised their family of three children in Ypsilanti, Michigan. He returned to his Catholic faith in 1996 after suffering a brain infection. In 1999, he retired from Ford just short of 31 years, ending his supply chain and logistics career at Ford's Rawsonville Facility. Once retired, Don moved to Whitehall, MT, where he purchased a cattle ranch. In retirement, he enjoyed working at the ranch and gem collecting/rock hounding. 

Don had many interests, and his biggest strength was his ability to be a self-starter and learner. Over the years, he became a jeweler, beekeeper, auto restorer, winemaker, baker/chef, etc. Some of his many hobbies were riding motorcycles, gardening, fishing, black powder shooting, antique pocketwatches, and clocks. 

He loved to camp and travel. Over the years, some of Don's favorite vacation spots were the Smokehole in West Virginia (fishing for trout along a branch of the Potomac River), the Outer Banks in North Carolina, the mountains of Montana, and any place in the Caribbean on a cruise ship. He always wanted to return to Switzerland where his youngest daughter lived.

 Don is survived by his wife, Sharon (Harmon); his three children, Jaydee Moreau (husband Jerimy), Dana Lee, and Heather Schuler (husband Oskar); his sister, Valerie McOuat; and four grandchildren, Blake, Garrett, Cassandra, and Deanna Moreau.

A funeral mass will be held at St. Vincent De Paul in Salt Lake City, UT, on April 4th at 11 AM. Online condolences can be offered to the family at

Don's family appreciates everyone's thoughts and prayers. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Don's memory to the Dementia Society of America.


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