LEE MINARD ~
On November 28, 2017, the world lost one of the truly good ones. Lee Minard would probably blush to hear anyone say that but then, that’s part of what made Lee, Lee.
Lee’s journeys around the sun began on March 12, 1941, in Rocky Ford, Colorado and ended in Fountain Hills, AZ. Growing up in Washington State’s Tri-Cities, Lee took on various hometown jobs at an early age, launching a work ethic that would become legendary throughout his career.
In the early days of his TV career, Lee was an art director, producer and director, and in the mid 1970s, he made the life-changing segue to TV promotion (creative services). Lee started as a Promotion/Creative Services Manager in an era when the norm was “just tell ‘em what’s coming up.” But Lee crafted a vision of identifying what made a TV station special and portraying that uniqueness in promos that would win the hearts and minds of viewers. And it worked. Audiences became loyal to the station that talked to them. With Lee paving the way, the creative role of the TV promotion team soon became vital to the operation of every TV station.
Lee’s far-reaching career took him to markets like New York (where he spent nine years at WCBS-TV and two years at Food Network), Baltimore, Denver, and Dallas. Prior to retiring in Fountain Hills, Arizona in 2013, he spent 11 years at KLAS-TV in Las Vegas. And every step of the way, he left his mark—not only on the TV stations themselves, but also on the many writers, producers, art directors, graphic artists, videographers, and editors he inspired every day. He helped colleagues find new ways to surprise the eye, the ear, and the mind.
Over the years, Lee’s diverse body of work has been acknowledged with awards for filmmaking (documentary), directing, programming, and in promotion (advertising) campaigns. He received several Emmy Awards for his achievements—and yet he felt most rewarded when people on his team took the prize.
Throughout much of his life, Lee was known for his distinctive looks (“the man in black”), his charming laugh—and as a soft-spoken gentleman with a caring, inspiring, and supportive manner. He genuinely appreciated intelligence, “smart humor,” and people from all walks of life.
His fascination for science and new technology was endless, while embracing fresh ideas and progressive thinking. His favorite saying was, “Stay curious!”
A writer, a painter, and a musician, Lee was a big supporter of the arts. He enjoyed every genre of music, but was especially partial to jazz. He blended his love of jazz and design by creating ads for upcoming concerts through his volunteer work for the local organization “Jazz in the Hills.” It gave him joy.
Lee also found joy in nature. He felt that the quote “Nature is my religion and the earth is my church.” [source unknown] summed up his beliefs. He respected all animals and so loved his pets, with special affection for his Ocicat (“Viva”) who has shared his home the past 13 years. In his retirement, Lee’s passion for nature photography reached new heights. Almost daily, he’d capture amazing images of birds and other creatures on his walks. On his Facebook page he listed his current occupation as “Chief Harvester of Light.”
Lee is preceded in death by his parents, Helen and John Minard. His survivors include his soul mate—his wife, MaryAlice Minard, and his sisters Darlene Mortensen, Kitty Towns, Caramel Wood and their families. He is also survived by his children: Deborah Susan Fields; Tamarak Li Arebalo (& her spouse Cathy); Derik Lee Minard; Kevin Glen Minard (& his spouse Pam); and Jayson Reid Minard, together with Lee’s 14 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren plus extended family, and so many dear friends. Lee loved each one and was always keenly interested in each of their lives.
Sadly, it was only by days that Lee and his lovingly devoted wife, MaryAlice, missed celebrating their 28th wedding anniversary.
Husband. Dad. Brother. Mensch. Guru. Mentor. Genius. Legend. Friend. Lee Minard will be remembered in so many ways by so many people. The world is truly a better place because he was a part of it.
A celebration of Lee’s life will take place on Saturday, March 10, 2018, at 1:00 PM at Messinger Fountain Hills Mortuary, 12065 N. Saguaro Blvd., Fountain Hills, AZ, where family and friends will share stories and tributes. It was Lee’s wish to be remembered with a smile, so guests are encouraged to wear black—to celebrate “cool New York Lee” and his favorite color! He would get such a kick out of that.
To further honor the life of Lee Minard, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to: Fearless Kitty Rescue (of Fountain Hills, AZ), Desert Botanical Garden (of Phoenix, AZ), the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Human Rights Campaign, or causes promoting world peace and those supporting the arts and the preservation of wildlife and the environment. “Love changes everything …”
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