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Leroy Lee 11/2/2022

LeRoy Martin Lee of Spring Hill, Florida (formerly of River Falls, Wisconsin) passed away on November 2nd, 2022, at the age of 83. After several months of declining health resulting from multiple myeloma, LeRoy Lee died peacefully at home with his beloved wife Judy by his side. The world has lost a great husband, father, grandfather, brother, educator and overall “good guy.” LeRoy was a genuine, kind and compassionate man who cared deeply for others, especially his wife Judy, his children and his grandchildren.

LeRoy was born in Newry, Wisconsin on April 30th,1939 to parents Orville and Ada Lee. One of five children, he worked on his family’s tobacco farm starting at a very early age. While growing up he was a successful baseball player and participated in the school’s marching band. LeRoy graduated from Westby High School in 1957 and then attended the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire where he graduated with a Bachelor of Music Education in 1962. LeRoy lettered in both baseball and music during his time at UWEC, for playing catcher on the college baseball team and participating in several college musicals and ensembles.

LeRoy started his teaching career in the Prairie Farm School District where he met his first wife Marlene (Westlund) Lee. They had two daughters Molly and Penny. They moved to New Richmond, WI where LeRoy began working at New Richmond High School as a band director. While at New Richmond, LeRoy put together a parade band that won several sweepstake circuits and championship parades. In 1976, the New Richmond High School Marching Band represented the State of Wisconsin in the Inauguration Parade of President Jimmy Carter under LeRoy’s direction and leadership.

In 1980 LeRoy began his tenure at River Falls High School. It was there that he rose to prominence as an outstanding marching band field show designer. His cutting-edge musical arrangements, combined with award-winning colorguard and percussion sections quickly defined the “River Falls Style” that would set the standard of excellence for the next two decades. His never-ending phrase of “one more time” while snapping his fingers and having a smile on his face was frequent at each of his rehearsals and it really meant playing a musical selection or running a field show drill many more times. “Mr. Lee” was a teacher of high expectations, standards of precision, strong values and overall commitment and he positively influenced countless students, educators, and community members. LeRoy was recently inducted into the Wisconsin State Music Association’s Marching Band Hall of Fame for his marching band advocacy. He always gave credit to his students for the successes that came his way, including this recent honor.

River Falls High School is where he met his wife Judy Clement, also a teacher, and they were married on April 28th of 1990. Judy and LeRoy enjoyed 32 years of marriage together, which included retirement adventures of travel, family, friends and fun. Music always found a place in his life as he always enjoyed attending musical events, especially Judy’s Sweet Adeline concerts. LeRoy loved his time outdoors. He was an avid golfer and spent his spare time “beautifying the boulevards” of Gateway to the Valley North on his John Deere tractor. Plowing snow in his driveway each winter was an art form that he found to be of great joy and accomplishment so that his grandchildren could enjoy sleigh rides behind his tractor. LeRoy was a reliable fan of the Packers, Brewers and Badgers as well as a proud spectator of his grandchildren’s music and sporting events. LeRoy and Judy traveled each winter to Florida where they made their permanent residence in sunny Spring Hill, Florida.

LeRoy was preceded in death by his parents and his son-in-law Rhone Hamilton. He is survived by his wife Judy Clement-Lee; children; Molly (Eric) Roeske and Penny Hamilton, stepchildren; Dan Clement, Stephanie Clement, Craig (Carmen) Clement and Renee (Todd) Dolan and grandchildren; Grace and Veda Roeske, Roman Hamilton, Zachary and Olivia Dolan, and Santiago and Camillo Clement. Sisters; Doris Halverson, Maxine (Orland)Olson, Brothers; Russell (Margaret) Lee and Ivan Lee and many nieces and nephews, friends, colleagues and students.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held Friday, November 11, 2022 at 11:00 am at St. Bridget Catholic Church (211 E Division St.) in River Falls.  Visitation was held Thursday, November 10, 2022 from 5-8 pm with prayer service beginning at 7:45 pm at Bakken-Young Funeral & Cremation Services (805 E Division St.) in River Falls.  Visitation was also on Friday from 10-11 am at St. Bridget Catholic Church.  Interment was in Greenwood Cemetery. Arrangements are with Downing Funeral Home in Spring Hill, FL and Bakken-Young Funeral & Cremation Services.

Those wishing to honor LeRoy’s lifelong commitment to family, students and community can make donations to “Rhino’s Foundation,” a non-profit organization that supports families and their caregivers in Western Wisconsin who have been impacted by cancer ( )or a charity of your choice.

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on.

Click here to watch the recording of LeRoy’s service



  • Lois Cernohous Posted November 3, 2022 1:35 pm

    So many wonderful memories of him and band days. Our condolences ❤️

  • james r beix Posted November 3, 2022 5:42 pm

    Great high school band leader. Traveled far and wide with his RF High School Band and won many competitions.

  • Bret Engel Posted November 3, 2022 8:18 pm

    Great band teacher and wonderful man. Condolences.

  • Sarah (Satre) Hanson Posted November 3, 2022 9:06 pm

    I’m so grateful for the rich, high-quality music program that Mr. Lee provided for us in High School. It was then that I decided I wanted to direct band some day, and now have been a music teacher for 20+ years. As an adult, I’m now very much aware of the time, dedication, and endless work that he did to make us so successful in the opportunities and experiences that he provided. I have a soft spot in my heart for Mr. Lee, and HS marching, pep, jazz, and concert band rehearsals, travels, and performances live large in my memories. Thank you, Mr. Lee.

  • Elaine Baumann Posted November 3, 2022 10:40 pm

    Mr. Lee left a lasting legacy in the River Falls music department. The successes and travels of the many marching bands under his direction were high school highlights for scores of RFHS students. It was great to see that he was very fittingly honored on as the 2022 inductee into the Wisconsin School Music Association Marching Band Hall of Fame. His induction tribute can be read at I only regret that I could not congratulate and thank you in person. I offer my condolences to your family.

  • William F. Stimeling Posted November 4, 2022 1:14 pm

    As district administrator, I was privileged to recommend to the board of education the hiring of Leroy Lee. He was everything that was good for the RF music program…and a LOT more! Upon arriving, Leroy Lee immediately began building an impressive marching and concert band. He created an esprit de corps that still resonates among alumni, decades later. Who can EVER forget the sound of “Jesus Christ, Superstar” as the Marching Wildcats took control of a stadium or street! Leroy was a wonderful educator and colleague

  • William Stimeling Posted November 4, 2022 2:59 pm

    While serving as River Falls superintendent, I was privileged to recommend to the school board the hiring of Leroy Lee. His accomplishments were already well known and it was hoped that Leroy would be able to bring that level of excellence to RF. He did exactly that…and then some! He was a dedicated teacher who pursued perfection and while doing so, instilled a sense of esprit de corps among the students that exists among the Wildcat band alumni to this day. He was a consummate professional and I was pleased to call him a colleague and friend.

  • Faye Kirschbaum Posted November 4, 2022 4:05 pm

    I remember the day Mr. Lee announced that the New Richmond High school marching band would represent Wisconsin at President Carter’s inaugural parade. What a proud moment for all of us band members. It proved the hard work and dedication he instilled on us was well worth the effort.

  • Rich Gregerson Posted November 4, 2022 5:08 pm

    Mr. Lee was both a mentor and an inspiration to me. I was fortunate to be able to take over in New Richmond after he left. We had wonderful times together competing against each other, then meeting to critique each other. His advice was always welcome and unselfish. He was able to achieve the ultimate effort and excellence from his Bands, whether Marching Band, Concert Band, or Jazz Band. Salute to you Mr. Lee!!

    • Renee (Olson) Paluch Posted November 6, 2022 7:30 am

      Hi Mr. Gregersen, I want to take this opportunity to thank you & your family for your dedication & long hours of directing the NRHS Band. I was blessed to have had 2 great inspirational mentors, as you took over after Mr. Lee left. We all know it takes a “FAMILY” to build an empire. God Bless. Class of 1981

  • Dixie Johnson Posted November 4, 2022 7:58 pm

    My condolences. Highly respected man. He provided RF with quality marching band performances. Tough shoes to fill.

  • Cynthia Potton-Kuenzi Posted November 4, 2022 8:22 pm

    Me Lee touched so many kids’ lives! He made band cool! I still get shivers thinking about standing at the edge of the football field under the Friday night lights getting ready to take the field. Sometimes when I am walking, the drum cadence sneaks into my brain, or I hum “Jesus Christ Superstar”. I think we had the best drum line in Wisconsin!

  • Andie (Nowak) Forslund Posted November 4, 2022 11:08 pm

    I’d just been thinking about him recently. Band & choir meant so much to me in high school, & he was a very important teacher to me. Mr. Lee will be very missed.

  • Diane McLaughlin Posted November 5, 2022 9:01 am

    All three of our daughters enjoyed the fun and excitement of color guard marching Wildcats and concerts with Mr Lee as their Director. A very rewarding time. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.

  • Marilyn Peplau Posted November 5, 2022 3:52 pm

    Mr. Lee’s passion for instrumental music and direction of marching bands, concert bands, and ensembles was inspirational. He was a great role model for high school musicians and other educators with his high expectations, dedication and perpetual smile. Can only imagine how many lives he influenced–including mine. Thank you, Mr. Lee!

  • David Brandt Posted November 5, 2022 4:49 pm

    Mr Lee welcomed me into the band in River Falls as a new student and made me feel like part of the family. I’m grateful for the two years I had with him. I loved his passion for music and he definitely brought out the best in me. Thanks Mr Lee. Great memories of playing Jesus Christ Superstar and Malagueña.

  • carolyn klecker Posted November 5, 2022 8:56 pm

    Mr. Lee,
    Thank you for saying ‘One More Time,’ you made us all better. Thank you for exposing us to music like Malaguena, Jesus Christ Superstar and Send in the Clowns. Thank you for making hundreds of students ‘WI State Champions,’ whether they were first chair or last. Thank you. You will be missed.
    My condolences to the family

  • Sandy Nelson Posted November 5, 2022 9:30 pm

    Did not know Mr Lee, I heard great things about Mr. Lee, from Rich Gregerson, he said he was his mentor and learned at from him.

  • Renee (Olson) Paluch Posted November 6, 2022 6:28 am

    It’s hard to believe that over 44 years has passed. I’m grateful to have been a part of the New Richmond High School Marching Band’s huge success.
    Mr. Lee’s great leadership has inspired so many. His dedication and perfection was award-winning. Gone yet not forgotten. Rest assure that his achievements and family legacy will live on. My condolences to the family. God Bless All.

  • Brenda (Olson) Winters Posted November 10, 2022 9:18 am

    What a wonderful tribute to the life of Mr. Lee (keepsake video). Mr. Lee will live on in the stories of all of us who had the opportunity to experience the New Richmond High School Marching Band, Concert Band, Jazz Band and Color Guard performances. May these memories from others be a source of comfort – take care of yourselves and your families.

  • Lee Nelson Posted November 11, 2022 10:33 am

    As a fellow graduate from Westby H. S. with 2 sons, Eric & Paul, who were honored to have you as RF Band director.. You influenced their with love of music & marching band. Well done Leroy

  • Pamala Remer Posted November 16, 2022 11:24 pm

    Judy and family, We are so very sorry to hear of Leroys passing. I just found out today.
    We would’ve been there but didn’t know. We keep you in our prayers!

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