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George

George "Lee" Williams

Sunday, August 23rd, 1953 - Monday, December 30th, 2019
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Obituary

George Lee Williams II was born in Kansas City, Missouri on August 23, 1953 to Wilson McCleary Williams and Carolyn Rae Cornielson. Lee was the oldest of three, an only son with a mischievous grin and a competitive streak. He was born an exquisitely kind and sensitive soul.

During his childhood and adolescence, he discovered adventure on the shores of Lake Michigan at Camp Leelanua, during an epic road trip through Central and South America with his family, and along the wooded trails of Queeny Park near Principia Upper School.

He became a cross country and track star in high school with the help of coaches Jack Eyerly and Bill Simon. Running unleashed Lee’s potential and helped him touch the hem of his best self. He preached running to whomever would listen, especially the captive audience of his children. It was the gateway to adventure and connection, the solution to every problem.

Lee married and divorced two powerful women, having six children with the first and running dozens of marathons all over the world with the second.

His list of athletic and professional accomplishments are long, but his most significant contribution--the arena where he left his indelible mark--was as a dad. When his kids found themselves in some rough seas, he kept the family afloat and steered the ship into a safe harbor. He let each one of them know that he loved them completely.

Lee taught his children kindness, humility, and how to make things right after they made mistakes or hurt one another. He worked to make sure no one got left behind--in life or when crossing the Grand Canyon or hiking through the Paria Canyon.

He wanted to leave the world a better place than he found it. This allowed him to persevere and even thrive following his diagnosis of early onset dementia in 2014. We’ve never seen anyone face down dementia with more grace and humility. The last eighteen months of his life were spent at Brookside Manor in Hood River, OR where he brought the inner courtyard garden back to life and kept the bird feeders stocked with nectar and seeds. He danced, marched in local parades, and even started a walking group. He died surrounded by his children, grandchildren and so much love.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Lee’s name to Camp Leelanua or Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital Foundation for Brookside Manor (C/O Anderson’s Tribute Center 1401 Belmont Ave. Hood River, OR 97031). A small service will be held in Hood River at the end of January and close family and friends will gather together at the Grand Canyon later this year.

A Celebration of Lee's Life will be held at 2:00pm Friday January 31st, 2020 at the Hood River Alliance Church (2650 Montello Ave. Hood River, OR 97031).

Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson's Tribute Center (Funerals • Receptions • Cremations) 1401 Belmont Avenue, Hood River, Oregon 97031. Visit www.AndersonsTributeCenter.com to leave a note of condolence for the family.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Friday, January 31st, 2020 | 2:00pm
    When
    Friday, January 31st, 2020 2:00pm
    Location
    Hood River Alliance Church (CMA)
    Address
    2650 Montello Avenue
    HOOD RIVER, OR 97031
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email

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TC

Tina Castañares

Posted at 12:28pm
A wonderful obituary and tribute. I’m so glad to have gotten to know Lee a bit, AND learned so much more in reading this. With love for him and his Hood River family. Tina
RM

Robb Moretti

Posted at 01:00pm
I had the good fortune to be a teammate of Lee's in high school and like everyone in our school and conference I was in awe of his talents, competitiveness, sportsmanship and most of all, his quiet leadership. His accomplishments on the track were legendary, but his kindness and the examples he reflected in the dorm were the result of his true character. While not close friends, he made a lasting impression on me that I carry forward to this day. I extend my sympathy and love to the Williams family, but most of all I send my love and respect to one of the finest men I have ever met.

Bruce Bollinger

Posted at 07:40pm
Lee and I were runners back before running was ever popular. We ran Cross Country and Track at Principia Upper School. Back in our High School days we ran the 2 mile together on a six lane cinder track. His love of running carried over to his children and their children. Lee was (and still is) a man of integrity, a great friend, a wonderful Dad and a stalwart supporter of The Principia, Upper School Class of 1972 and College 1976. I was grateful to see Lee last year during the celebration of Life that we had for our mutual friend and Coach Willy K. Simon. During that visit with Lee, I was able to connect with him by reminding him of our days running Eagle Hill on the St. Louis Campus and when we roomed together the night before the State Track Meet in Columbia Missouri. I am confident that Lee will continue to run the race that is set before him.
Your running buddy,
Bruce "BOLO" Bollinger U/S '71 & C '75
 
RM

Robb Moretti Posted at 12:52pm

Although I was a sprinter, you two set an example for me of what the meaning of competitiveness and sportsmanship were all about. Lessons I've carried forward to this day.
JV

Jan Veldhuisen Virk

Posted at 11:20am
Lee was such a kind man. His friendly smile at Brookside will be missed. I will never forget how he welcomed my dad. He would stop by and see him on the memory care side. He felt he was “paying it forward”. He will be missed by all.
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