Rhoady R. Lee Jr. died peacefully at his home on Hunts Point surrounded by his family and friends at the age of 84 on Aug. 22, 2012.
Rhoady was born in Seattle in 1928 and lived in the Seattle area all of his life. He graduated from O’Dea High School in 1946 and from Seattle University with a business degree in 1950, where he met the love of his life, Jeanne Marie. They were married 61 years.
As a young man, Rhoady worked for his father, Rhoady Lee Sr., in his father’s hotel properties. After a short stint at Boeing, Rhoady and his family bought a small sand and gravel company and later an asphalt paving business now known as Lakeside Industries. Under Rhoady’s direction and with the able assistance of many devoted employees, Lakeside grew to 13 divisions in Washington, Oregon and Idaho with 650 employees.
Even though Rhoady was an extraordinarily successful businessman, he was defined by his family and his generosity to innumerable charities, particularly Catholic schools. Rhoady served on the boards of Seattle University and Forest Ridge School, chaired various capital campaigns and received numerous awards for his service, among them the Elizabeth Ann Seton Award from the National Catholic Education Association, the first Alumnus of the Year award and St. Ignatius Medal from Seattle University, as well as an honorary alumnus award from Forest Ridge School.
Rhoady was a man of great energy and enthusiasm. He hauled an old Navy barge up the Alagnek River in southwestern Alaska and fly fished there with family and friends for decades. He skied on Bald Mountain, ranched, rode horses and raised cattle in the Wood River Valley, Idaho, and flew airplanes for business and pleasure. Rhoady was passionate about these loves, but never had more fun than when sharing them with friends and family.
Facts aside, Rhoady was a very special person, a man of immeasurable integrity, humor, generosity, love, common sense and wisdom. When asked how he was doing, invariably he would respond, “Any better I couldn’t stand it.” Rhoady was a devoted friend and mentor to many, and a loving spouse, brother, father, grandfather and father-in-law to his family. He taught by example how to live a full life, how to work and how to play. And, in the end, he taught us how to die with grace and humor.
Rhoady is survived by his wife, Jeanne Marie; his sister, Sheila Lee; his children, Sharon, Rhoady III, Timothy, Maureen, Mary Pat, Michael and their spouses and partners; and his fifteen grandchildren and their spouses.
A memorial service was held at Sacred Heart Church in Bellevue, Wash., on Monday, Aug. 27, at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Seattle University or Catholic Community Services.