Richard A. “Rick” Lee, age 51, passed away on Tuesday, March 8, 2022 surrounded by his loving family in his home in Bartlett, TN. Rick was born May 12, 1970 in Kansas City, Kansas to John and Sharon (Snyder) Lee. The Lee family relocated to Riverton, UT when Rick was five years old.
On May 8, 1993, Rick was married to Cherie Miller at Anchor Baptist Church in Holladay, Utah. While living in Utah, Rick and Cherie had two daughters, Ashlyn and Megyn. Rick loved his family deeply and there was nothing he would not do for them. He sacrificed of his own time and resources to ensure that his daughters attended private school and graduated from college, often working on weekends without complaint to make sure that his girls got the best he could offer. Rick was very proud of his daughters achievements and was tremendously supportive of their careers no matter where that might take them. When the time came for his daughters to marry, Rick was not enthusiastic about the idea of giving up his girls, but he was very supportive and welcomed his two new sons-in-law into the family and loved them too.
Upon graduating from Bingham High School in 1988, he began a decades-long career as a machinist. Rick was passionate about his work and was an asset at every stop along his career. His tenure included stints at McDonnell Douglas and Rolls Royce Gear Systems in Park City, Utah, and contract work for NASA at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Upon moving to Tennessee with his family, he began an 18 year career from 2003 to 2021 at Engineered Medical Systems, which specializes in manufacturing medical devices, implants and instruments in Bartlett, Tennessee, At EMS, he was the team lead for the prototype and servicing departments. It seemed like he could fix just about anything, even when the problem seemed unfixable. Rick lived by the axiom “all you can do is try,” and more often than not he was successful. Rick cared deeply both about the excellence of the work he did in the shop as well as the people with whom he had the opportunity to work. He was loved and respected by those who had the pleasure of working with him for his sense of humor and his dedicated hard work.
Rick found a deep love for the great outdoors as a young man that never left him through his life. While living in Utah, he enjoyed big game hunting and camping with his family, and he especially enjoyed driving along the canyons in the Wasatch mountains around his childhood home. Rick continued his love for God’s creation after moving to west Tennessee with his family. He was always up for an adventure and frequently took the family on vacations to Gatlinburg, Tennessee and the gulf coast. Rick instilled his love of adventure and nature into his daughters and especially enjoyed the memories he was able to make with them on these trips. Rick had a special affinity for national parks and visited many throughout his life, but Yellowstone was a particularly special place for him and he returned to Yellowstone with his family many times throughout his life. He also shared his enduring fandom of Alabama football with his family, whether it was watching a game at home on a Saturday afternoon or taking the whole family down to Tuscaloosa for game day. His enthusiasm for the “Tide” was infectious and he often found a way to good-naturedly rib his family, friends and coworkers when Alabama inevitably won in a matchup with their team.
Rick was well known for his tenacious perseverance which he carried with him through every day of his life. He was born with a heart defect that required experimental surgery at age four and later required several open-heart surgeries. During his life Rick was accustomed to being given poor prognoses due to his heart condition and took all of them in stride. He took it as a personal challenge to beat every expectation along the way. Others never would have known of Rick’s preexisting conditions because he had an attitude of positivity and grit. When he was diagnosed with cancer in 2019, Rick was once again delivered a difficult prognosis, but Rick was unwilling to change his attitude and perseverance, but rather embraced the challenge head on. He was a fighter, and once again he did everything in his power to beat every expectation given to him by his physicians. In spite of an international pandemic and cancer treatments, he went back to work at EMS, he continued to travel around the country to enjoy God’s creation, and he continued to love his family, spending countless hours with them on FaceTime and traveling to see them in person. It was Rick’s goal to once again beat the doctor’s prognosis and be declared cancer free. He fought his cancer to the very end and ultimately won, because he lived every day victorious: loving his family, his work and his Savior.
If Rick were to tell you how he most wanted to be remembered, it would be as a man of faith. He lived every day with a unique focus on being a dedicated follower of Christ and was an excellent example of daily Christianity to all who he came into contact with. He was a faithful member of the Baptist church and led his family with a devoted, authentic desire that Christ be honored in every action he took. He gathered great strength from the promises in his favorite passage of scripture, Psalm 46. Rick had a personal and real relationship with the Lord that he wished to share with all of his family and friends. It is because of this personal relationship that Rick was confident of where he would spend eternity. And it is Rick’s wish that he will be able to see all of you once again in heaven.
Rick’s beautiful life will be forever cherished in the lives of his family. He was preceded in death by his mother, Sharon Lee. He is survived by his wife, Cherie; his daughters, Ashlyn Walker and Megyn Yoon; his sons-in-law, Jabez Walker and Jayson Yoon; his sister, Cheryln Thatcher; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and in-laws who he loved dearly.
Rick’s funeral services were held at 2 P.M. Wednesday, March 16, 2022 at East Side Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee where they can gather together to reminisce, grieve and support one another. Interment followed in the Fayette County Memorial Park Cemetery on Highway 64.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Rick’s name. The address is 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105-9959 or you can go to the following website: St. Jude Donation Website Link .
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.