Dean Lee, 86, of Mitchell, SD formerly of Forestburg, SD, died Sunday, September 27, 2020 at Avera Brady Health and Rehab in Mitchell. Funeral services will be 11:00 AM Friday, October 2, 2020 at Bittner Funeral Chapel. Burial will be in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Artesian, SD. Visitation will be one hour prior to the funeral service at Bittner Funeral Chapel.
Dean Emmett Lee was born November 18, 1933 in Mitchell, SD at St. Joseph Hospital to Ralph and Clara (Fairfield) Lee. Dean attended South Dakota School for the Deaf in Sioux Falls for 12 years, graduating in 1952.
After high school graduation, Dean worked as a farm laborer for several years. He was in a farm partnership with his brother Tom, raising cattle and putting up hay. After he retired, he continued to help various neighbors with farm work.
Dean was involved in providing habitat for pheasants and was an avid deer hunter. He enjoyed feeding and watching birds at his home northeast of Forestburg. He could always be seen driving around in his pickup with a black lab companion in the back. Other hobbies of Dean’s were watching baseball, basketball, and football on TV and he took in many Dakota Wesleyan and Sanborn Central games. His mother always said: Dean’s most fun past time was “putting his feet under the table” to see if he could win a few bucks from a card game at the local pub while eating a chili dog and drinking a beer.
Dean was very interested in education for kids. Therefore, in 1998 he started the “Dean Lee” scholarship fund to the South Dakota School for the Deaf which provided a senior to further his/her education, and elementary grades to purchase needed items for the classroom. Dean was invited each year to attend the graduation and present this scholarship and a monetary gift. He also gave a monetary gift to the Artesian, Letcher, and Forestburg Schools in 2003 to help towards the purchase of land to build a new centrally located school in Forestburg.
Dean had a handicap of not speaking or hearing, but he did not let this get in his way of communicating with others, as he could always pull out a notebook and pen from his shirt pocket to share a story or get caught up on the “local news”.
Dean is survived by his cousins and many friends. He is preceded in death by his parents, an infant brother, James, and his brother, Richard (Tom). Dean appreciated the friendships he made with the staff and residents at Countryside Living and the great care he received from Avera Brady nurses and hospice care staff.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Sanborn Central Scholarship Foundation. Dean’s love for hunting would make it appropriate to wear hunting attire to his services.