PORTLAND — Frank Freeman Lee, 93, died Oct. 22 at Mercy Hospital following a short illness, during which time he was cared for by his wife of 38 years, Ruth Balch Lee.
He was born on March 19, 1920, in New York City, the son of Dr. Burton James Lee Sr. and Louise Freeman Lee. His father was a World War I battlefield surgeon on the Western Front in France and later a well-known cancer surgeon in New York City.
Lee graduated from Choate Preparatory School in Wallingford, Conn., in 1938, after which he attended a German high school outside Munich for one semester.
He graduated from Yale University with a bachelor’s in international relations. During World War II, he served aboard the destroyer USS Boyle, in the Atlantic. After World War II he returned to Yale and earned his master’s and doctorate in sociology. His dissertation was on race relations in Branford, Conn., and was published as a book, “Negro and White in Connecticut Town.” From 1948 to 1950, he was the publicity director and fundraiser for Fisk University in Nashville, an African-American college. Throughout his life, he was active in the Civil Rights movement.
Lee spent 31 years teaching and doing research, retiring from Northeastern University in 1983. He then moved with Ruth to Santa Fe, N.M. Lee was a founding member of the Rotary Club Del Sur and volunteered with Prison Fellowship at the Santa Fe State Penitentiary. He was an avid squash player, hiker, reader and traveled extensively with his wife and family. He was also a generous donor to many charitable causes.
In 2011 Lee and Ruth moved to Portland.
He was predeceased by a sister, Louisa Fox, in 1978, and a half-brother, Burton James Lee Jr., in 1963.
He is survived by his wife, Ruth B. Lee, of Portland; three children, from his first marriage to Margaret Gallaher Lee, Maggie Peterson and husband, Phil, Burton Hoyt Lee and Susan F. Lee; three stepsons, Ben Balch, Nat Balch and wife, Maggie Morrison, and Barney Balch and wife, Paty Matrai; two grandchildren, Phillip and Sis Peterson; and four stepgrandchildren.
Services will be private. Burial will be in the Memorial Cemetery of St. John’s Church, Laurel Hollow, Long Island, N.Y.
Donations in Lee’s memory may be made either to St. John’s Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 266, Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724, or the Bach Festival of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 440 Heckewelder Place, Bethlehem, PA 18018.
Arrangements are being handled by Conroy-Tully Crawford Funeral Home, Portland.