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Patricia Brownell Lee ’43

A picture of Patricia Brownell Lee

Patricia Brownell Lee ’43, February 11, 2012, in Portland, from cardiac arrest. Patty grew up on a farm, south of Milwaukie, Oregon, where her father bred poultry and propagated hollies from all over the world. She came to Reed, along with brothers Barry C. Brownell ’43 and Robert P. Brownell ’46, and earned a BA in education. During summers, she worked as a playground director at Peninsula and Sellwood parks. Her interest in fitness and health led to her thesis, "A Study of the Reed College Physical Education Program for Women," and to a teaching position at Jefferson High School after graduation. In December 1944 she joined the WAVES, serving as a personnel supervisor for a naval base in San Francisco. When she returned to Portland in 1946 she taught physical education at Reed. At a folk-dancing event at the college, she met G. Prentiss Lee ’39, who was doing a surgical residency at the Portland Veterans Hospital. They married in 1949 and moved to Helena, Montana, where Prentiss completed his medical certification. Back in Portland, they built a home on two acres, and Patty enjoyed landscaping and maintaining the gardens on the property. She became a full-time mother, supporting the schools and extracurricular interests of her three sons. She also devoted time to community service, doing fundraising and heading up organizations. She volunteered with the March of Dimes, the YWCA Building Fund, St. Helen’s Hall, and the Oregon and American Heart Association. She served as president of local and national medical auxiliary organizations. She was an active member of Reed’s alumni board and Foster-Scholz Club, and volunteered for Reunions. In 2003, she was awarded the Foster-Scholz Club’s Distinguished Service Award. She also was honored by the Portland Chamber of Commerce, and was recipient of the Oregon Journal Woman of Achievement Award and the Mayor’s Spirit of Portland Award. She helped write bylaws for her neighborhood association and served as its president, and was elected to and served on the board of the Southwest Portland neighborhood association. Survivors include her sons, Gilbert and Granville (who now operates the Brownell Holly Farms); six grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. Her son, Gary, died in a mountain-climbing accident in 2008 and Prentiss died in 2010. “She was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother, neighbor, and friend. All who knew her will miss her dearly.”

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2012

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