WHITE PLAINS, NY — The community mourns the passing of Theodore Jay Lee, Jr., a beloved member of the Westchester community and beyond.
Theodore Lee, Jr. was born on September 1, 1937, at St. Agnes Hospital in White Plains, NY, to the late Theodore Jay Lee, Sr. and Mattie R. Anderson Lee. Ted grew up in a “family village” type of environment, where he knew almost everyone in the neighborhood. He played on the streets and sandlots, and had a Reporter Dispatch newspaper route. Ted was formally educated in the White Plains School System, graduating from White Plains High School in 1955. Spiritually he was raised and grew up in Bethel Baptist Church. Ted attended New York University, and served four years in the U.S. Army, where he was stationed in Panama, before his honorable discharge. In 1962, he attended and graduated with honors (Cum Laude), from American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service in New York City. He has been an active licensed Funeral Director for 60 years.
Theodore J. Lee, Jr. was united in Holy Matrimony to JoAnne Futrell of Peekskill, NY on September 12, 1964. They were blessed with two children to raise, with their values, and to survive him – Jennifer and Theodore Jay Lee, III. He was a kind, loving, father, and husband for just short of 58 years. A close knit, loving family, they lived and worked together daily the majority of their lives. They thoroughly enjoyed this time together, as well as yearly family vacations. He would take the whole family (including his mother-in-law), to Funeral Director Conventions around the USA.
Ted was born into and always worked in the family business to some extent since childhood. After his formal schooling and licensure, he formally joined the family business, Lee’s Funeral Home, LLC, as the Second Generation, and became manager after his father died. He remained active in funeral service, actively serving his community, ever continuing educating himself in his craft, and was always available and amenable to share his knowledge and wisdom with others.
He received many awards during his years, and is happy to have served as a now past president of several organizations, including the Greater NY Funeral Directors Association; Empire State FDA; and First District Governor of the National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association from whom he won their highest award, the Robert H. Miller Professional of the Year Award, as well as was the 2011 Funeral Director of the Year from the Empire Funeral Directors Association. He was also a long time member of the NYSFDA, the MetFDA (and a former member of its board of directors), Westchester County FDA, and the Eta Chapter of the Epsilon Nu Delta Mortuary Fraternity. Ted served nine years on the NY State Funeral Directing Advisory Board., as well as a trustee of the American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service, in NYC. He earned his Certified Funeral Service Professional (CFSP) status from the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice. In 2002 Teddy semi retired, and lovingly and readily turned over his managerial duties to his Summa Cum Laude graduate and proven most capable, licensed funeral director daughter Jennifer, the Third Generation of Lee’s Funeral Home. LLC. She helped bring Lee’s Funeral Home into it’s 107th year.
Ted was also very active in the White Plains Community, serving in ways in which and organizations too numerous to list here, but including the Exchange Club; Fisher Hill Association; White Plains Juneteenth Heritage Committee; Westchester County African American Heritage Celebration Coalition, White Plains Historical Society; Thomas H. Slater Center Board; Charter Member of Roots of White Plains Foundation, and contributing writer to the book “On The Streets Where We Lived.” Ted was named Grand Marshall for the 2022 Juneteenth Parade, along with wife JoAnne.
A caring, compassionate man, Ted was sought for advice by people from all walks of life, and was always willing to assist or give advice. As is well known, Ted loved and was a well known and beloved Magician. After taking an adult education class, his interest and lifelong learning in the art of magic started. But that was OK, because he found a lot of other ‘big kids’ in his many fellow Magicians he grew to know and love over the years, and was a member and officer of so many magic organizations over the years, including: Society of American Magicians Parent Assembly #1, NYC; Society of American Magicians Assembly #194 Yonkers, NY; International Brotherhood of Magicians Ring #26, NYC; International Association of Black Magical Artists; and the Invisible Ring. He served as past president and/or officer of some, including Past President of the same one Houdini was president of; and most recently was made Dean of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, Harry Roz-n Ring #26, NYC.
Ted is a longtime member of and had always been a tither at Bethel Baptist Church in White Plains, where he served as a Trustee and worked with the Men’s Ministry, and other ministries. Ted was a staunch believer in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ above all. Though one of his hobbies was magic, he enlightened many people about God through the Gospel Magic he would perform.
On Wednesday, May 4, 2022, Ted transitioned from labor to reward, peacefully while sleeping. Left to survive and cherish his memory are his wife, JoAnne; daughter Jennifer, son, TJ; many cousins, other relatives, staff family, and friends.
Visitation was held on Sunday and Monday, with a final visitation on Tuesday morning. A homegoing service was held on Tuesday, May 17th, at 12:00 noon, at Bethel Baptist Church, 1 Fisher Court, White Plains, which was also livestreamed.
As a lasting tribute and impact, in Lieu of flowers, the family and Mr. Lee himself instead prefers a contribution may be made in his name/memory/honor to the Thomas H. Slater Center, 2 Fisher Court, White Plains, NY 10601 (may be done on your own or also through the donation tab/link here on the Lee’s Funeral Home website, and/or Hospice of Westchester, 1025 Westchester Ave. Suite 200, White Plains, NY 10604; or any local church or charitable organization of your choice, especially ones with which Mr. Lee was affiliated/supported. The Family Thanks You!
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