Daughter writing book on life of Jack Lee - Aug. 24, 2017
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Beverley Lee, the daughter of Jack and Helen Lee, is in the process of writing a book about her late father.
Jack, who was recently honoured as a community builder by the Western Ontario Athletic Association (WOAA), was a well-known figure in the Blyth and Londesborough communities before he passed away in 2013.
Jack was known primarily for his work in local baseball and hockey, specifically his decades of refereeing Blyth hockey, much of it in charity tournaments for which he insisted on no payment.
Beverley is no stranger to documenting the stories of her family members, as she wrote a book on the life of her mother Helen a number of years ago and circulated it to friends and family members. However, before she knew it, a number of people in the community ended up with a copy. She has since uploaded it digitally to the internet so anyone can read through it.
She began work on Jack’s book while he was still alive, which was special for Beverley, as her father was able to see some of the early drafts before he passed away. The process has been interesting, she said, because Jack never wanted attention or the spotlight and simply lived his life the way he thought was right, not to earn accolades in the community.
Beverley had to stop writing the book for a while after her father passed away, saying that tackling the subject was simply too difficult for her. However, the recent WOAA honours have reinvigorated her and she has returned to the project in recent months.
Lee was honoured at the organization’s 75th Diamond Jubilee Anniversary Banquet held in Wingham last month. He was nominated by the Blyth Lions Club, specifically memvers Ryan Lee, Chris Lee and John, Ken and Barney Stewart, all of Blyth.
The Lions Club detailed a number of Lee’s achievements in its nomination, including his work with area hockey referees for an annual Lions-sponsored hockey tournament.
“For 35 years the Lions Club hosted the Blyth Little Lion Novice Hockey Tournament. Jack Lee scheduled the referees for this annual tournament,” the nomination read. “He volunteered his time to referee numerous games throughout the tournament each year and never requested or accepted payment for any of those games.”
Beyond the Lions tournament, Lee was well known as the man in charge of hockey refereeing in Blyth for decades.
Lee held the position of referee-in-chief for the Blyth Minor Hockey Association for a number of years, scheduling all referees for all Blyth games during that time.
“He recruited and encouraged many young athletes to take up refereeing. He provided training for these new referees both on-ice and off-ice. He was always there to assist new referees throughout difficult situations,” the nomination read. “As new rules were introduced, he would attend team practice sessions to explain rule changes and outline situations where penalties were warranted.”
The Lions Club nomination also said that Lee played both hockey and softball in the Blyth and Londesborough areas for a number of years before taking up hockey refereeing.
In the book, Beverley has worked on chapters that outline the Lee family’s history, Jack’s hockey and refereeing years, his work in bowling and the local Masonic Lodge, community service, his grasp of technology and his love story with his wife Helen. She says she hopes to add to it in the coming months to include his numerous awards in the community for his work over the years.
Beverley’s motivation behind writing the book, she said, has been Jack’s involvement in the community, which ran so deep. She wanted to make sure she told his story to family members, friends and those in the community who knew him well.
She has received help by way of Facebook recently, with a page entitled “RIP Jack Lee” where those who knew Jack have been free to leave behind stories or experiences that Beverley hopes to include in the book. She encourages those who knew Jack to visit the page and leave their memories even now as she continues work on the book.
In addition, she’s hoping that interested community members will contact her with information, stories or pictures that can help enrich the story. Beverley can be reached at 705-818-2533 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.