Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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Obituary ~ Kenneth J. "Ken" Lee
September 09, 1932 ~ May 25, 2001

The Globe Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Monday, May 28, 2001
Pages A1 & A2

Ken Lee dies at 68
Second Ward city councilman, had battled heart disease for several weeks.

by John Skipper of The Globe Gazette

MASON CITY - Second Ward City Councilman Kenneth J. Lee, 68, died Friday at St. Marys Hospital in Rochester, Minn. He had been hospitalized both in Mason City and Rochester several times in the past several weeks for complications from heart disease and had undergone surgery in Rochester earlier this week.

Lee a businessman who in recent years managed several rental properties, was first elected to the council in 1993 and was re-elected in 1997. His term would have been up at the end of this year.

Mayor Bill Schickel said Friday, "I'm deeply saddened. Ken was a fighter for what he believed in and had a good ability to bring his views to the table. Our decisions were made better because of it." [Page A2]

Lee remembered as factual, straight shooter

[The mayor continued] "I remember one time at a council meeting where someone made reference to Ken leaning a certain way on an issue. And he said, 'I don't lean. I decide.' That was Ken Lee. He loved Mason City and he loved being on the City Council."

He took pride in his ability to express himself, once advising a newspaper reporter that he could always be counted on to say tings that were "actual and factual."

During the recent council deliberations on the Indianhead Farms rezoning, which Lee opposed, he complained that too many people considered it just a Wal-Mart issue. "Wal-Mart represents 6 percent of the total project. If 6 percent of the world was Bolivia, we wouldn't call the world Bolivia, would we?" he asked.

Lee had a defibrillator implanted in his chest. On Feb. 20, the defibrillator activated during a City Council meeting while he was speaking. He quickly concluded his remarks but waved off police and fire officials who approached him to see if he needed assistance.

Shortly after that, he under went surgery to have a new defibrillator implanted. He attended both council meetings in March but failing health prevented him from attending the last four meetings.

His council colleagues said Friday he will be remembered for his concern for the welfare of the city and his determination to serve, even when he was ailing.

"When I first got elected to the council, Kenny took me under his wing," said Third Ward Councilman Don Nelson. "A lot of people think he told me how to vote, but that's not true. He'd say, 'here's this side, here's the other side of the issue. Now you decide.'

"I was new to all of this and he really tired to help me along. I respected his business background and his deep concern to do what was right for the community. And he did what he thought was right, even when it wasn't the most popular view. He was a dedicated man with a great sense of humor and we will miss him."

At-Large Councilman Roger Bang said, "You have to appreciate his effort on behalf of the city for almost eight years. I appreciate his efforts to serve the people of Mason City and the dedication he showed even in times when he was not in the best of health."

First Ward Councilman Lee Snell said he knew Lee for 20 years, long before they served on the council together. "As council memebers, we would disagree on things from time to time but I know we both respected each other's opinions," said Snell.

"Ken was a real nice guy with a great sense of humor. He was always jabbing you about something but it was a fun kind of thing. You alwasy knew he respected you. And I respected him."

Fouth Ward Councilman Art Wolover said, "Ken was always looking out for the financial welfare of the city. I learned many things from him and I will miss him. The city has lost a good friend and a staunch supporter."

At-Large Councilwoman Lori Henry could not be reached for comment.

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Fullerton Funeral Home.

~ ~ ~ ~

The Globe Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Monday, May 28, 2001
Pages A9

KENNETH J. LEE

MASON CITY - Kenneth J. Lee, 68, of Mason City, died Friday (May 25, 2001) at St. Mary's Hospital, Rochester, Minn.

Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Fullerton Funeral Home, 123 Second St. S.E., Mason City. Officiating will be the Rev. David Anderson of St. James Lutheran Chrch. Inurnment will be in Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery.

Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to direct memorials to the North Iowa Humane Society, or the Shriners Hospital for Children in Ken's name.

Kenneth J. Lee was born Sept. 9, 1932, the son of Gordon and Fannie (Ebbenga) Lee in Mason City. He attended Mason City public schools and later graduated from Mason City High School in the Class of 1950. Ken went on to college, earning his industrial engineering certificate.

Ken was a self-employed manufacturing consultant and in recent years manatged several rental properties. He thrived on purcasing and renovating properties from the inside out. Ken was an avid Chicago Cubs fan and could often be found watching or listening to the game. He was very active in different civic affairs and local politics including his second ward seat on the Mason City City Council. Ken was first elected to the council in 1993 and re-elected in 1997. He was a member of the Masonic Benevolence Lodge 145, Scottish Rite of Cedar Rapids, El Kahir Shrine, and the Royal Order of Jesters.

Those thankful for having shared in Ken's life include his wife, Alice; one son, David Hansen and his wife, Julie, of St. Paul, Ark.; three grandchildren, Michael and his wife, Bridgett Hansen, Daniel Hansen, and Brian and his wife, Amy Hansen; four great-greatgrandchildren; and one niece and two nephews.

Mr. Lee was preceded in death by his parents and one sister, Shirley.

Fullerton Funeral Home, (641) 423-8676.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, September of 2017

 

 

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