John T. Lee, 65, accountant, popular among neighbors

February 21, 2003|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

John Turner Lee, a retired accountant who was a friendly presence in his Anne Arundel County neighborhood, died of a heart attack Sunday while shoveling snow at his home in Hanover. He was 65.

Family members said Mr. Lee began clearing snow Saturday at his home. Sunday morning, he went out again, then came in before lunch. He resumed shoveling later in the afternoon on a 40-foot section of blacktop leading to his garage, where family members found him unconscious.

Mr. Lee was born in Stroudsburg, Pa., and played tuba in the Stroudsburg High School band. He served in the Army from 1961 to 1965, including an assignment in West Germany, and once drove from Norway to Italy in a blue Volkswagen Beetle while on leave.

He moved to Maryland in 1965 and earned a degree in accounting from the University of Maryland, College Park.

He retired last year as comptroller at Southern Insulation in Hyattsville. Earlier, he was comptroller for Cossentino Contracting Co. of Rosedale, an underground-utilities business, and for many years was treasurer for Jones and Artis Construction in Landover.

"He was a character," said Paula King, a former co-worker at Southern Insulation. "He made the office come to life and kept us on our toes. He had a positive attitude and was so easy to work with. I'll never forget his great personality."

"He was pretty well known in our little neighborhood because he walked around so much and started conversations, especially if you had just moved in," said Linda Griffith, his next-door neighbor for 26 years. "The time went by quickly when you talked with John. He was never at a loss for words. I never saw him frown or yell. He was always willing to lend you anything he had."

Elaine T. McLaughlin, a friend from Riva he met at a Sunday school function 27 years ago, said, "He was the life of the party. He just loved to be around people."

Friends said Mr. Lee liked to play pinochle and followed professional and high school football. A Mason, he belonged to the Glen Burnie Lodge.

He traveled in Canada, Puerto Rico and the American West.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Wesley Grove United Methodist Church, 1320 Dorsey Road, Harmans, where Mr. Lee sang in the choir.

Survivors include his wife of 41 years, the former Joan Mae Lake, comptroller for the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors and manager of its credit union; a daughter, Susan Elizabeth Clark of Hanover; a brother, Philip D. Lee of Silver Spring; a sister, Ida L. Wescott of Virginia Beach, Va.; and a granddaughter.

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