Patsy and Don Lee with the Melinda Lee Memorial Scholarship plaque

Community leader Don Lee died Monday at a retirement home in Flower Mound. He moved there from Lake Highlands not long after his beloved wife, Patsy, died in 2018. He is survived by daughter Jennifer Gross and her family, also in Flower Mound. Today would have been Don’s birthday.

Don and Patsy moved to Lake Highlands in 1977 and quickly jumped into activities in the neighborhood. Patsy became a Girl Scout leader after daughters Jennifer and Melinda were born. They joined Lake Highlands United Methodist Church and Don volunteered with the Exchange Club.

In 1994, a drunk driver killed Melinda while she was attending college in Lubbock. Don and Patsy turned their grief to action, traveling around the state speaking on behalf of M.A.D.D – Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Thousands heard their message that drunk driving deaths are preventable and saw the human toll drunk driving exacts. The Lees created a scholarship in Melinda’s name and helped administer it through the Exchange Club. To date, more than 50 LHHS graduates have received the boost of confidence Melinda’s scholarship provides.

One of Don’s favorite songs was “Did I Make a Difference?” by the Oak Ridge Boys, and he loved to travel to Branson, Missouri to see the guys perform it. Don often spoke about the impact Patsy made in his life and in the lives of neighbors in Lake Highlands. The difference he made is measured in the lives of LH students, Exchange Club mates and friends.

Don Lee was my biggest fan. For more than a decade, he read my Advocate articles and sent me uplifting notes, encouraging me to continue highlighting students and sharing activities in the neighborhood. He’d send links to his friends at the Exchange Club and prompt them to forward posts along. He was like a one-man public relations team generating “clicks.” Who needs “search engine optimization” when you’ve got Don Lee in your corner?

No matter what you do in life, I hope you find at least one enthusiastic “fan” like Don Lee. Someone who claps you on the back and tells you you’ve done a good job. Someone who celebrates your work with enthusiasm. Don was a cheerleader for folks in Lake Highlands – students at LHHS, teachers at area schools, volunteers in the community, people in need. He made Lake Highlands better. Don was my biggest fan. And I was his.

A memorial service is being planned for later this summer. Details have not yet been determined.

Jennifer Lee Gross and Don Lee

Jerry Allen, Luke Davis, Joel Rosenzweig, Don Lee and David Brown at Davis’ school board retirement party