I’ve seen the name Thomas E. Lee dozens or maybe hundreds of times on my way past the sports fields on Rte. 16 in Wellesley. There’s a marker on a stone right along the street bearing Lee’s name, and the softball field that’s currently undergoing reconstruction is named after him.
But I never really knew who Tom Lee was until I came across his obituary this past week. That’s when I learned about his many contributions to the town, and figured others in town would be interested in learning more about him, or remembering him.
Lee, who died in Bellingham at the age of 85 after battling ALS, served Wellesley proudly for many years. The Wellesley High grad and U.S. Marine Corps. veteran began his Wellesley town career as an engineer in the Department of Public Works, then spent 37 years as executive to the Board of Selectmen.
He was honored as Grand Marshal of the Wellesley Veterans’ Parade in 1994.
In 1997, the Lee Recreation Area was dedicated at a June ceremony from which we’ve embedded the program below. Rene Rancourt sang “America the Beautiful” and Lee’s daughter Michelle tossed out the first pitch before the first softball game at the new field. Lee at the time told the Wellesley Tab that he was surprised to be honored but glad the one-time snow dump would be used for sports.
Services for Lee have already been held. He is survived by children Thomas, Michelle and Timothy, as well as 2 grandchildren. We share our condolences with family and friends.