Lee will be interred at Ft. Logan National Cemetery on Friday, March, 11, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. area “A” with full military honors.
3698 South Sheridan Blvd. When traveling south on Sheridan, turn left into the first (northern most) entrance and make a first right at staging area “A”.

Lee Stearns

In Loving Memory
Passed Away:
February 24, 2016

Lee will be interred at Ft. Logan National Cemetery on Friday, March, 11, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. area “A” with full military honors.
3698 South Sheridan Blvd. When traveling south on Sheridan, turn left into the first (northern most) entrance and make a first right at staging area “A”.


Lee Stearns, born in 1944, died February 24th, 2016. He was born in Adair, Iowa and raised on a farm in Canton, South Dakota where he attended grade school through high school. He graduated from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, earning a BA in political science and completing ROTC before his commission in the United States Army where he served in Vietnam from 1966 – 1968. He was a member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. He is survived by his wife and two adult children and two grandsons, all living in Denver. Lee loved his family, fly-fishing, poker, golf, reading, and traveling. Tall, beautiful, kind and dignified, Lee was a first class man, a great man, a man with a ready smile and generosity of heart who will be missed by so many he touched in all his 71 years. Lee was simply a Grand Man.


44 Responses to Lee Stearns

  1. Claudine Lackey says:

    I’m so glad that I was privileged to know Lee. He was the best husband for Carole and a gracious host to all of us. Sending my sympathy to the family.

  2. Vanessa Montemayor says:

    Lee always gave me a big hug when I saw him. I felt his compassion. He is a giant.

  3. Marvia Valdez says:

    God be with you as you reflect on this life you shared with your soulmate for nearly half a century. Know you have friends who care. May the hole in your heart be filled with loving memories.
    Marvia Valdez

  4. Dave & Mary says:

    A beautifully written tribute to the Grandest of Men! He will be missed so very much, he touched all who knew him so positively.

  5. Megan Flanagan says:

    We will miss his beaming smile and twinkling eyes. May God bless him.

  6. Rita & Ezio Subissati says:

    Even though we’ve known Lee for a very short time, we will miss this wonderful man.

  7. Liz Fant says:

    My thoughts are with you Carol.

  8. Linda Thormodgard says:

    He was a great classmate and friend.

  9. DENNIS DEVORE says:

    A gentle man who will be missed.

  10. Rachel & Manny Balcazar says:

    Carol and family, we love you very much! we will continue to ask Gods comfort and strength and peace on you!

  11. Dennis Martin says:

    Hey Lee, I hope that you had a good life. I thought of you often fishing in Alaska..Best wishes to your family.

  12. Jock and Lani Wolff says:

    You will always be remembered . A real gentle man. Your friends in South Africa. We were honoured to have known you. Rip Lee.

  13. Kay McDougall Kattke says:

    So sorry to hear of Lee’s passing. He was a great guy.

  14. Virgil Jelsma says:

    I remember Lee as a great guy. He had an infectious smile that proved hard to forget. May he rest in peace.

  15. Terry Bong says:

    Lee always had the biggest smile.

  16. Tim LeDuc says:

    Lee has been a special friend since 1978. We played many enjoyable rounds together and
    Shared Broncos tickets.He will be missed.A couple of trips together put the icing on cake.Carol our prayers are with you.

  17. EvyBuckingham says:

    I was a classmate of Lee and remember that big smile of his. He was truly a special person. So sorry for your loss. Rest in Peace Lee.

  18. Lorna Luecke says:

    Carol and family,
    Our prayers are with you as you are going through a great loss. He was quite the guy always there for everyone.

  19. dennis hanson says:

    so sorry to hear of lees passing. he was a very big yet quiet guy. may he be at peace with the many brothers in arms around him.

  20. Gary Stensland says:

    In Memory of Lee —
    I shared the message below with Carol (Mrs. Lee Stearns) on February 28, 2016. It is not something I would tend to share widely but it has been quite meaningful for Carol and she asked if I would share it on this website. Gary Stensland, 3/2/2016.

    Hello Carol ,

    Your email message this morning about Lee passing away last Wednesday was a real shock to me. Diane is in St Louis with daughters Sharla and Kiersten so I was alone to absorb the news. Over the last few hours I have shed tears of sadness for my loss of a very, very special friend.

    During the last few hours I have been asking myself why this loss looms so large to me. I think the answer is that Lee and I grew up together, going through the special period where we passed from boys to young men. We met in the fall of 1958, in our first classes as freshmen at Canton High School. I came from a one-room grade school about 12 miles south of Canton. I assume Lee also went to a country grade school, about 10 miles north of Canton. We both grew up on farms. Roughly half the class of 65 freshman would have been these country farm kids while the other half were the Canton town kids. Both Lee and I went out for football. At the first practice I was told that I needed to wear a jock strap for football. As a country kid I had never heard of “this device.” Perhaps Lee was in the same situation. That is but one example of the difference between country boys and town boys. The four years of football left me with many great memories and I am sure the same was true for Lee. On offense I was a guard and Lee was a tackle. During daily practices the linemen would pair up, get on their hands and knees, and push (block) each other. My memory is that Lee and I always paired up and did some pushing and grunting; we were faking it every day and Coach Osbo never noticed. I was only on the starting team as a senior. Lee and I were beside each other on both offense and defense for essentially every play in our senior year.

    I remember that both Lee and I were in drama (school plays) for at least a couple years. I’m not sure how I ended up doing drama; perhaps Lee talked me into it. Lee seemed to always have a main role in the plays. The plays were fun – a nice way to be around lots of girls.

    During high school Lee stayed overnight at the farm with me a couple times, and I stayed on his farm. I thought his parents were very nice and I am sure he felt the same way about my parents. Both our parents were very supportive of us in high school, going to our class activities and giving us access to a car and $ every weekend I think. I got to High School by riding in the yellow school bus; I think Lee may also have ridden the bus. My memory is that Lee had a rather new white 4-door Chevy for his social life. Both of us had a few drag races on the asphalt road north of Canton.

    Lee’s mother, Fern, was a teacher so she had gone to college. So I suppose she gave Lee guidance in his choosing to go to the University of South Dakota (USD) in Vermillion, 1962-1966, where I think he majored in history and political science. I always knew I would go to college, because I liked school courses and my Dad told people that he thought he had saved enough for me to go to two years of college ( I was in college from 1962-1973). My Mom and Dad had 10 brothers and sisters, and only a few of them graduated from high school. The rest stopped with 8th grade so I had no one that knew anything about college. High School Guidance Counselors did not exist in So. Dak in those “early days.” I don’t remember how I chose to go to USD — I truly believe I went there because Lee was going there. On the first day at USD I went to register and they told me that I had to pick a major field of study. I liked math and science so I said I wanted to major in Engineering. After a few hours it became clear to me that USD was not actually a school to train engineers so I chose physics as my major. South Dakota State at Brookings is where I should have gone to study engineering. I think Lee forgot to tell me about this concept of majoring in something.

    By sophomore year at USD I had gotten married so I lost close contact with Lee. Lee was one of the men standing beside me when I got married. It was only many years later, in Denver, when Lee and Carol and Diane and I got together again. Those visits are very special in my memory. I wish there could have been more for the four of us in the future.

    I think the stories above do in part explain why I felt Lee was such a special friend for me. I can never remember Lee and I being mad at each other, or ever even raising an angry voice to the other. I only remember Lee and his big smile. Boy, I do miss him.

    Carol, you certainly have tough days ahead without Lee at your side. But I know you have strong support from your kids and grandkids.

    Before I send this I find myself reading your email once more, to be sure that it is not just a bad dream on my part.

    You have our deepest sympathy.

    Gary (and Diane) Stensland
    Feb 28, 2016

  21. Wayne Butkovich says:

    May peace be with you in this time of sorrow.

  22. Sharon Edwards says:

    So sorry to hear of Lee’s passing. He always had a smile! He was a good classmate to have, he was always there when anyone needed a friend! My thoughts and prayers to you Carol and your family. Always know Lee left a big footprint in many life’s.

  23. Ben williams says:

    Lee was my dear friend , and I will miss our times together so much.
    My heart is heavy, and my prayers
    and thoughts are with you Carol

  24. Kay McLean says:

    What a privilege it was to know Lee. He seemed to have such an appreciation for life, travel, and his family. God bless him.

  25. Ben Williams says:

    Lee was a dear friend , and my heart is heavy with
    his passing. I will miss him greatly. Carol my prayer is with you, and what a wonderful tribute
    you wrote, it was perfect.

  26. Kim Hussey says:

    My deepest sympathy to the Stearns Family. I work with Lisa his daughter and know how much she loved her Dad.

  27. Dennis and Pat Widman says:

    Lee was a good friend for 30 years. He was kind, generous, easy going and trust worthy. He was a good man. We will miss him greatly.

  28. Vanita Doyle says:

    My husband, Don and I knew Lee as Father-in-Law for our daughter. We shared grand sons and enjoyed discussing them. I know how he was loved by his family and how he loved being a Grandfather.

  29. Christina Headrick says:

    Lee was kind, and smart and generous. In my mind I will continue to see him walking with his faithful dog in the peaceful beauty of the early morning.

  30. Carol Shoul says:

    I have such great memories of Lee in High School. He always had a ready smile, soft spoken and a cute little laugh. He was a gentle giant! Prayers and peace be with your family Carol!

  31. Rich & Carol Johnson says:

    While I have known Lee for many years through our business careers, it is only the past 2 years that I came to know him as a dear friend. Lee taught me how to retire. He was so much fun to be with, I miss him dearly. I am glad my Carol & I had some opportunity to share time with both you Carol & Lee. Our hearts and prayers go out to you and the family.

  32. Jan Sunderland says:

    My prayers are with you during this very difficult time for you and your family.

  33. Carole Stansbury says:

    Uncle Lee,our gently giant you will forever be in our hearts. I will always hold great memories of your mellowness, deep chuckle, interesting conversations and spending childhood visits with you and the family. You will be dearly missed by so many, as we continue our journey here. We can smile and be at peace knowing you are healthy doing everything you love to do in beauty beyond our comprehension. Cheers until we meet again.

    With much love,
    Carole and family

  34. Clint Ralls says:

    I will always have fond memories of Uncle Lee’s warmth and kindness. He will be sorely missed by all. Aunt Carol, Lisa, Adam and Family, our thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Love you guys,
    Clint and family

  35. Rita Cordova says:

    Carole, please know that my thoughts & prayers are with you. I care deeply about you and I understand how difficult the next few months will be for you. I’m so sorry I won’t be able to attend Lee’s service as I have an appointment at the same time, but I will get in touch with you soon.

  36. Iva Prinsen says:

    Lisa and family, I did not know your dad Lee but know how special he was to you and your family. I am keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. Peace and blessings as you move forward without him.

  37. Rosalind Cheung says:

    Dear Carol,
    I am glad I met Lee. What a kind and upright man he was.

  38. Kathy Stone says:

    Lee was a great man, and I’m so sorry for your loss. Know you are in our hearts.

  39. Mark Crowl says:

    Carol—I was a frat brother of Lee’s at USD
    I met you at a Party at Dave and Sal Raber in 1968. I was on my way to VN!!!!iI have fond memories of Lee. Sorry for your loss!!!!!!

  40. Lowell Hanson says:

    Sorry for your loss. I was a friend of Lee during our fraternity days.

  41. Jeff Dyke says:

    I just read of Lee’s passing in the South Dakotan Magazine. I’ve known Lee since 1965. We were in the Phi Delta Theta fraternity and Lee had a business selling hamburgers in the dorms and Greek houses. The business was handed to him by Mert Tice and then Lee handed it off to me. We were the hamburger men. There wasn’t any prestige to go with the job and I don’t think it ever got us any dates. Then Lee went off to the army and we got back together when he came back to USD for graduate school. Then we ran into each other in Denver. We’ve seen each other a couple of times just randomly, but it’s been a long time. Now after reading the announcement, I really regret we didn’t make more of an effort. Lee was like a St. Bernard. A great big guy without a mean bone in his body. I really liked him.

  42. Mike Held says:

    Carol. Lee was a fellow Phi Delt! A great man. Sorry for your loss.

  43. Hugh E Bickford says:

    Much to say and sadden by his passing . We shared many a day , fishing was our common past time and we shared a lot of time on the waters we loved to fish. Will always remember our trip to Alaska and the great times with him in Canada walleye fishing. If you want to know a man just fish with him and all is revealed and we were friends . Prayers for him and will see your soul soon Lee my fishing buddy and companion on the waters of life. Keep fishing my friend.

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