Richard F. Lee JD ’77 died peacefully on January 9, 2012, after living bravely and valiantly with frontotemporal degeneration (FTD) and ALS. Rick never complained or felt self-pity about his diagnosis. Instead, he accepted it and committed himself to staying active and serving others. Until his final month, he volunteered at the Unity Shoppe and Central Office of AA, and loved walking long distances sharing hope with everyone he met. He participated in a research project at UCSF so future families will not experience this devastating disease.
Rick was born in San Francisco to Bruce P. Lee and Barbara L. Lee (Pierce), and raised in Millbrae, California. From the time he was a toddler he was the consummate jokester. In his own inimitable way he was also a leader. He was captain of the safety patrol at his elementary school, and senior class president at Mills High School. He was on the debate team at UCSB, and graduated summa cum laude from Santa Clara Law School in 1977. He returned to Santa Barbara as an associate at Schramm & Raddue where he later became a senior partner.
He was married to Barbara Conway from 1976 to 1990 and they had three wonderful children: Allison, Andrea and Adam. In 1993 he married Diana Jessup and together they adopted Diana’s foster daughter Lorraine Monroy. Rick loved being a father and grandfather.
He also loved being a lawyer and helping people. When Schramm & Raddue dissolved, he opened his own office where he enjoyed representing a wide variety of clients. In 2007 he joined Reicker, Pfau, Pyle & McRoy LLP where he practiced until his medical retirement in 2010. He had a passion for correcting injustices, whether the cause was worth millions of dollars or none at all.
Rick held leadership roles in many civic organizations, including Legal Aid, Santa Barbara County Bar Association, Alano Club, Barristers’ Club, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church and Teen Court. Rick was a role model in dealing openly and candidly with the challenges he faced in life. He was proud to have 29 years of sobriety and to have survived prostate cancer. Rick had amazing stamina and always strove to see the best in people. His commitment to enjoying life and helping others will live on in the many people he mentored and loved. One of the greatest gifts Rick received in his last year was the loving care of his son-in-law Nathan who was his full time caregiver.
Rick is survived by his wife Diana; his children Allison in San Francisco, Andrea (Nathan) Ridgell in Santa Barbara, Adam in San Francisco, and Lorraine (Marcus) Haynes in Las Vegas; his brother Steve in Santa Barbara; his sister Janet in Lincoln; his grandchildren Kaden and Kashton Ridgell, Anthony, Monique and Chauntal Monroy, and Brooklynn Haynes; and his aunt and cousins in the Sanfillipo family. His parents and sister Joanne predeceased him.