Frances F. Lee passed away July 30, having set a remarkable example over 91 years of how a quiet, unassuming life may have a deep and richly abiding impact on all those around her.
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Frances was born October 5, 1927 in Lexington, Kentucky to James and Frances Ashbrook Farmer. Her mother’s family hailed from nearby Cynthiana, where her grandmother served as the long-time superintendent of Battle Grove Cemetery. During her childhood, she spent many happy summers visiting her grandmother and playing amidst the historic monuments, and they held an important place in her heart throughout her life. She graduated from Lafayette High School and the University of Kentucky, where she studied elementary education and was a proud member of the Epsilon Chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta. She enriched the lives of first graders at Mill Creek Elementary in Louisville before turning her attention fully to her growing family.
A great passion for Frances was early American history and the lifestyles of those who lived in those times. She learned to spin wool, cotton and flax and served for 25 years as a docent at Locust Grove, never tiring of showing fascinated schoolchildren how a spinning wheel worked. She also had a full-size, authentic loom from the era that served both educational and recreational roles for her. Frances also served as a docent at the Thomas Edison House in Butchertown. She fully restored two historic homes and had a keen eye for period décor and antiques.
Frances traveled the U.S. and Europe with her husband of 61 years, Sammie F. Lee, who held leadership roles in national engineering and political organizations. The many conventions, speeches and social gatherings in far-flung locales were not Frances’ natural habitat, but her complete devotion to Sammie allowed her to serve graciously at his side.
Raised in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), as an adult Frances was a faithful member of Buechel United Methodist and Christ Church United Methodist. She served as a Girl Scout troop leader and Area 5 Chairman. A lifelong fan of University of Kentucky athletics, Frances held season football tickets for nearly 50 years and attended almost every home game as recently as last season—regardless of the weather or the performance of the team. She was an avid bridge player, and many of her playing partners were among her closest friends.
While her preference was to allow others to be the center of attention, Frances had a lively sense of humor and enjoyed bantering with her children and grandchildren. There was always laughter when she had her family and friends around her.
Frances was predeceased by her husband, Sammie, and her sister Mary Jo Leary. She is survived by her son David Lee (Terrie), daughters Cynthia Burgess (Dan) and Karen Vidal, grandchildren Eric Masters (Adrianna), Bryan Lee (Becca Ruark), Matthew Burgess (Arlyn) and Christopher Burgess (Ruthie), and great-grandchildren Emma Masters, Harper Burgess, Nancy Burgess, and Sammie Burgess.
Visitation will be Friday, August 2 from 4:00 – 7:00 at Highlands Funeral Home, 3331 Taylorsville Rd., and on Saturday, August 3 from 10:00 – 11:00 at Christ Church United Methodist, 4614 Brownsboro Rd. with the funeral immediately following. Expressions of sympathy may be made to Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana or Locust Grove.