Col. Gordon C. Lee, 82, served in Balto. Co. Police Department

October 17, 1997|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

Col. Gordon C. Lee, a retired Baltimore County police colonel described as the "example of what an officer should be" in his 34-year career, died of cancer Saturday at Union Memorial Hospital. He was 82.

He served on the county force from 1941, when he started as a patrolman in the Pikesville area, until he retired in 1975 as a colonel after serving briefly as acting police chief.

"He was universally admired by those who served under him," said John A. Metzger, who worked with Colonel Lee as a spokesman for the Police Department in the 1970s. "He was a genuine and caring individual."

Colonel Lee, a Pikesville resident, served in many capacities during his career. He had been head of field operations for all of the department's precincts and a captain in the traffic division, and helped establish the county's police dog unit.

He received two official letters of commendation and dozens of letters of praise.

Friends and colleagues said Colonel Lee, although deserving of his high ranking, probably preferred being on the streets with patrol officers whenever possible.

"He just loved the job so much," said his daughter, Patricia Edel of Finksburg. "He wasn't thrilled about the part of being behind a desk, but he loved the job."

Police Maj. Walter Coryell, recalling a time early in his own career, said Colonel Lee had a quiet dignity and was a "father figure" to many patrol officers.

"He was the type of individual in which everyone was comfortable in his presence," Major Coryell said. "But he was always professional and never allowed any slackness or shoddy work. He was the example of what an officer should be."

Colonel Lee, a native of Baltimore, attended Catonsville High School and worked on an assembly line at the General Motors plant on Broening Highway from 1936 until he joined the Police Department.

Mrs. Edel said her father was devoted to the department and police work.

"He was truly owned by the Police Department for 34 years," she said. "His men were the things most important to him. Of all of his accomplishments, I know he was proud that he never had to use his gun, thank God."

He is also survived by his wife of 59 years, the former Virginia Reiblich; and a brother, Raymond Lee of Easton.

Services were Wednesday.

Pub Date: 10/17/97

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