“The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave.” — Ronald Reagan
George Patrick Lee was the brave – living a life full of challenges, successes and adoration. For all who knew him, he was “Pat.” At age 88, Pat passed peacefully from the living into the waiting arms of his God and his beloved wife Doris “Dolly” Walton Lee on Monday, Aug.12, 2019, at Kalispell Regional Healthcare in Kalispell.
Pat was born the middle of eight children on April 18, 1931, in Ogden, Utah. He spent his growing up years in Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Oregon. He left home at an early age to work on ranches and the Forest Service. Pat was a man who longed for adventure and enlisted in the United States Army on Sept. 2, 1950. Shortly thereafter, Pat went to Fort Ord, California, for boot camp where he met Robert “Bob” Walton who would become a lifelong friend and the brother of his future wife, Dolly. Pat and Bob were sent to Korea together where Pat was assigned to the 10th Engineer Combat Battalion. During his tour, Pat and his squad were clearing mines for an assault. When Pat saw a wounded soldier lying defenseless and alone surrounded by mortar fire, he dashed 50 yards to the man’s side, administered first aid, and carried the soldier to safety. This heroic, selfless act would earn Pat a Silver Star for bravery, the nation’s third highest combat decoration.
After Korea, Pat went to Fort Flagler near Port Townsend, Washington, to serve the rest of his time with the U.S. Army. In spring of 1952, he traveled to Columbia Falls to be the best man in his Army buddy’s wedding — six weeks later he would marry Bob’s sister, Dolly. The newlyweds started the beginning of their 67 years together in Port Townsend. On Aug. 24, 1956, Pat was discharged from active duty and returned to the cattle business he so dearly loved in Montana where he and Dolly raised four daughters. Through the years Pat worked ranches in the Flathead Valley, Conrad area and Dutton. Pat often said the best years of his life were spent on the Teton Valley Ranch near Dutton. After years of adventures together that took them from Wash-ington state to Montana to Arizona and to Nevada, the couple returned to Columbia Falls in 1983 where they purchased a home and remained until their final days.
Pat was a cattleman, a welder, an inventor and a patriot. He was a favorite uncle, a beloved son and son-in-law, a treasured friend, and a mighty man of God.
He leaves behind many who loved and adored him. Pat is survived by his four daughters, Patricia (Mike) Jenkins of Tacoma, Washington, Vicki Lee of Columbia Falls, Cheri (Mike) Mamuzich of Missoula, and Kerri (Chuck) O’Farrell of Tacoma; and his grandchildren, Chad (Sara) Baumann, Travis (Annie) Baumann, Ricky McKnight, Daniel McKnight, Nicole Mamuzich, BriAnn Mamuzich, Jillian Mamuzich, Andrew O’Farrell, Heather O’Farrell, and Sean O’Farrell. Pat’s legacy lives on in them and in his great-grandchildren, Brylee, Aiden and Cortlyn Baumann; Jozlyn, Tannin, Jai and Malaysia Baumann; Anthony and Teah McKnight; and, Michael Mamuzich.
Pat was preceded in death by his wife Dolly whom he lost exactly three months prior; John and Clora Lee (parents), brother Robert, and sisters Cathy and Ruth.
Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, Aug.17, at Glacier Memorial Gardens in Kalispell, followed by a lunch reception with family and friends at Journey Church, 5091 U.S. 2, Columbia Falls.
In lieu of flowers, Pat’s daughters request donations be made in honor of their beloved father and United States Army veteran, George P. Lee, to Montana Veterans Home Memorial Foundation (P.O. Box 250, Columbia Falls, MT 59912).
Columbia Mortuary is caring for the family.