Nancy E. Lee
Beloved Cousin and Friend
Private services were held for Mrs. Nancy E. (nee Johnson) Lee, 89, of West Orange, NJ, formerly of Verona, NJ, who passed away on Wednesday, October 13, 2021. There will be a memorial service held at Calandra’s Italian Village Restaurant, 234 Bloomfield Avenue, Caldwell on Friday, October 16 at 3:00 p.m.
Nancy was born in Mason, Michigan where she grew up. Much of her life understanding was formulated and influenced by her mother and grandmother, two strong and thoughtful women. Both encouraged her to continue to learn and to grow her obvious intelligence. Nancy attended Michigan State College, where she earned her teaching degree. That degree took her to the Spence School, where she taught while living in Manhattan. In the fifties, she taught children on a U. S. Army base in France, where she met her husband, Ted Lee, who was on an extended motorcycle trip around Europe.
Soon Nancy and Ted settled in Verona and Nancy began her true life’s work, nurturing young hearts and minds at Lincoln School in Nutley, NJ. In the early seventies she joined several other Nutley teachers to create the Human Relations Committee, which spread racial understanding and tolerance. The friendships formed there and at Lincoln School lasted for the remainder of her life.
Nancy believed in educating the whole child. She read poetry and classical literary works to her classes and allowed all children to develop at their own rate, always encouraging them to become better people. Anyone who was fortunate enough to have had her as a teacher never forgot her. Those of us who worked alongside her will long remember her wit, her kindness, and her strength. Nancy’s violin playing at school parties will also be recalled fondly, along with her quick and authentic laughter which diffused difficult situations over the years. Her strong spiritual sense was always in evidence.
Nancy retired from public education in the early 1990s. She eventually moved back to Mason, Michigan for twelve years revisiting her roots. Her cousins, Dawn Anderson and Judy Lamphhere survive her, along with her dear friend and counselor, Father Alan Wakefield, who also lives in Michigan. Mason always felt like home to Nancy, and she missed it dearly when she returned to New Jersey, although she kept in close touch with the Mason “Bookies”, her beloved book club friends.
After Ted’s passing, and for the past nine years, Nancy has lived at Sunrise, an assisted living facility in West Orange, where she charmed the staff and enjoyed painting, reading, and walks around the grounds.
Nancy’s entire life was about peace and acceptance. She lived that life with tolerance, style and grace.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to plant a flowering tree at Lincoln School, Nutley in Nancy’s memory next spring. Please send donations to Plant a Tree for Nancy, c/o Maureen Hall, 113 Chestnut Drive, Wayne, NJ 07470.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Nancy E. (Johnson) Lee, please visit our floral store.
Plant a Tree for Nancy
c/o Maureen Hall, 113 Chestnut Drive, Wayne NJ 07470