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Day Lee

January 18, 2017
Lake Placid News

Day Lee passed away on Friday, Dec. 30, 2016.

Day Lee was born on Dec. 6, 1922 at #2 Gramercy Park, New York City, the son of Ronald Currie Lee and Louise Day Putnam.

He attended the Buckley School in Manhattan until he and his family moved to Hook Rd. in Bedford, where he attended Rippowam Cisqua School. Later he studied at Millbrook School in Millbrook, and graduated from Lawrenceville School, in Lawrenceville, New Jersey in 1941. Day's education at Harvard was interrupted by his service in the Naval Air Corps, and in 1947, he graduated with an A.B. in history and English literature. In 1956, he completed a master's in education at the University of Pennsylvania.

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On Sept. 9, 1950, in Shaker Heights, Day married Nancy Arabel Mills, daughter of Wilbur Thoburn Mills Jr. and Margaret Welch of Cleveland, Ohio. They had two children, Pamela Arabel Lee and David Currie Lee.

From 1949-1950, Day and Nancy worked for the ECA (Marshall Plan) in Paris, where they developed a lifelong passion for all things French. Day began his teaching career tutoring for the Searing Tutoring School in Bedford. From 1956 to1961, he taught history and was the assistant headmaster at the Gunnery School in Washington, Connecticut. From 1961 to1986, he taught history at Deerfield Academy, Old Deerfield, MA. During his sabbatical (1981 to 1983), both he and Nancy taught at the American School in Lugano, Switzerland.

Throughout his life, Day's four passions were: the Adirondacks, the theater, painting and music. He was also an avid hiker, and in his 40s, he attended the Telluride Mountaineering School in Telluride, Colorado.

Throughout his retirement, Day traveled widely with Nancy and was still playing tennis when he was ninety! Day was first introduced to Keene Valley, and the High Peaks when he was a teenager. His great uncle, Will Day, first visited Keene Valley in 1870 and climbed Mt. Marcy with Old Mountain Phelps. From 1954 to 2015, he and Nancy summered there and became lifelong members of the Ausable Club.

For several years he was President of the Adirondack Trail Improvement Society (ATIS) and founding director of High Peaks Camp for teenagers. In the early 1970s, Day served as president of the Deerfield Valley Conservation Association. When the Army Corps of Engineers attempted to build a 260-foot dam in the Stillwater section of the Deerfield River, Day, with help from many others, successfully defeated the project, and the dam was never built.

Both Day and Nancy were accomplished actors and directors with the Dramalites in Washington, Connecticut, and the Stockade Players in Deerfield, Massachusetts, the Arena Civic Theater in Greenfield, Massachusetts, the Barn Theater in New London, New Hampshire and the Center for Music, Drama and Art in Lake Placid. During his lifetime, Day acted in and/or directed more than 26 productions.

An avid artist and watercolor painter, Day studied drawing and printmaking at Greenfield Community College and became a member of the Pioneer Valley Art Association. He exhibited his paintings at the Windham Art Gallery in Brattleboro, Vermont, and in several galleries in New Mexico and Keene Valley.

He also served as president of the High Peaks Art Association and the New Mexico Art League in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and was a member of the New Mexico Watercolor Society.

In his later years, Day continued to play the guitar, recorder and the harmonica. He especially enjoyed playing folk songs and jazz with friends and, then, listening to music when he could no longer play.

Day was the glue that held his family and the community together. His enthusiasm, joie de vivre, friendliness, wisdom, humor and kindness will never be forgotten,

Day was predeceased by his son, Dr. David Currie Lee, Ed.D., who died Dec. 24, 1995, and his wife Nancy Mills Lee, who died Jan. 12, 2015. He was also predeceased by his parents; his brother Putnam Lee and two sisters: Damaris Lee Gillispie and Gayle Lee Gall.

Day is survived by his daughter, Pamela and son-in-law, Edward Cranston; his daughter-in-law, Margaret "Peggy" Healey Lee; granddaughter, Rebecca Louise Lee; his brother-in-law, John "Jack" Welch Mills; and his wife, Louise Connell; and 11 nieces and nephews and their families.

A Memorial Service for Day Lee will be held in the summer of 2017 at the Congregational Church in Keene Valley, NY. (Date and time TBD.)

Gifts may be made in his memory to the Adirondack Trail Improvement Society (ATIS) - PO Box 565, Keene Valley, NY 12943 - (518) 576-9157 - or to Deerfield Academy, PO Box 87, Deerfield, MA 01342.

Please visit our online guestbook for Day at



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