David Abraham Jensen Lee, 84, passed away peacefully at home on April 27, 2020 after an extended battle with pancreatic cancer. He was born January 27, 1936 in rural Whalan (Lanesboro), Minnesota to Gilbert and Ina (Jensen) Lee. He graduated Salutatorian of his class from Peterson High School in 1954, and worked the family farm near Highland just a few months shy of the rest of his life. He married Barbara Jo Lande on June 17, 1967, at Fjeldberg Lutheran Church in Huxley, Iowa, and they had four children.
Dave will be remembered for his deep connection to music, his beautiful singing voice, an unyielding impulse to keep the lawn grass short, house cats, fishing the Root River, International Harvester and John Deere tractors (red before green), Gleaner combines, and a hard to satiate fondness for foods sweet and/or savory. He enjoyed a good walk and a long tractor ride, and the two were not mutually exclusive. He was a loyal fan of the Minnesota Golden Gophers, Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, and Milwaukee Bucks. He was not above making the same mistake twice, and the really good ones, 3 or 4 times. The man seemed nearly immortal at times, and survived a hundred things that should have, by all rights, ended him, usually walking away with a slight limp but hardly a scratch. His toughness, much like his stubbornness, was legendary.
Dave did not see the world the same way most people do. It was often hard to understand the things he did and did not do. It is harder yet to think of a world where he has finally used up the last of his nine lives. It is impossible to imagine turning down the driveway, and not seeing him out there mowing, or to walk in the hayshed and not hear the music of a radio station that doesn’t quite come in, and to see him sleeping there in his outdoor bed that he loved so well. It is hard to contemplate choosing a name for a pet without thinking, “what would Dave have called this one?” He was proof that you don’t have to understand the world, or be understood by it, to leave a lasting mark upon it.
Dave is survived by his wife, Barb; children: Michael (Melissa) Lee, Monica Lee-Ball, Mark (Courtney) Lee, and Mitchell (Cresta) Lee; sisters-in-law: Ruth Lee and Bonnie Hill; brother-in-law Harold (Sue) Lande; grandchildren: Brittany (James) Galen, Alexandra Lee, Zakariah Lee, Isabella Lee, Kasey Ball, Kassidy Ball, Hunter Lee, Hudson Lee, Elizabeth (Sawyer) Johnson, Evelyn Deeds, Jacen Sandberg, and Brogan Lee; great grandchildren: Tristan Galen and Maddox Galen, and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
He was proceeded in death by his parents; his brothers and sisters: Jacob Lee, Erma (Clifford) Olson, Rollyce (Gerhard) Oistad and Jaymour (Violet) Lee; son-in-law Kenny Ball and daughter-in-law Jennifer Lee.
In Loving Memory of David “Abraham” Jenson Lee
January 27, 1936 – April 27, 2020.
Always there on the farm, but never really present
He had a talent for growing corn “bananas,” (fine habitat for pheasant).
A man of contrasts, opposites and wild extremes
A man of simple wants, simple joys, and the simplest of dreams.
If hard work equaled wealth,
he would have hoards of treasure
that man could make work
out of relaxation and leisure.
If there was a harder way to do it
It would surely be found
If there was no reason to go through it,
He’d bury that rig in the ground.
He lived a life, some might call charmed.
He didn’t know the meaning of caution,
Yet was nearly immune to serious harm
(and blackleg, accidentally self-inoculated on the farm)
He twice collided with semi trucks, in the same Tercel
He absorbed the blow from a paddle, thrown from a hammer mill.
He lost a thumb in a corn picker, then finished the row,
and then put the rig away in the shed, before he agreed to go
then held his hand on the table, to saw off the naked thumb bone,
Told the docs to “cut it off, sew me up, and send me home”
He was the toughest SOB I’ve ever known
And I can’t believe he won’t be there
The next time I go home.
Every spring at the river-
When the horse begin to run,
Every time I smell fresh cut hay-
Drying in the sun,
Every time a putt drops-
I had no business making,
Every time I take a trip-
I had no reason for taking,
Every time I stop for a treat-
A raspberry shake or chocolate cone…
I will think of Dave and smile
and he won’t really be gone.
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