Anchorage 23.0 °F
Fairbanks 2.0 °F
Juneau 23.0 °F
Lee W. Risse
Lee W. Risse
Lee William Risse, 78, died of complications from ALS at his home in Fairbanks surrounded by family and friends on Easter, April 8, 2007.
Born on July 17, 1928, in Silver Creek, Wis., he was the youngest child of Charles and Irene Risse. Lee graduated from Random Lake High School in 1946.
From 1951 to 1952 Lee served in the U.S. Army Airborne Division with a tour of duty in Japan during the Korean War. After returning to Wisconsin, Lee was employed by dog training legend, Charles Morgan, as a driver. His travels with Morgan took him to Missouri, New Mexico and California, where he met his future wife, Margreta Anderson.
During the summer of 1953 Lee and his mother headed north to Fairbanks to help his beloved sister, Mabel Cary, and her husband build their home. Lee returned to California in the fall of 1953.
In April of 1954 Lee and Greta married and they drove the Alaska Highway to Fairbanks. Within a few months, they found the homestead off Chena Hot Springs Road that would provide a home and a living for them for more than 50 years. Greta and Lee settled into the drafty log cabin on the property and that September Lee built his first greenhouse.
In Fairbanks, Lee worked for the Geophysical Institute, Matanuska Dairy, the NC Co., Consolidated Freightways, the City of Fairbanks, and Union Oil. In addition to his employment, he always had his hand and heart in agriculture, putting in hundreds of lawns, raising thousands of bedding plants, and growing an assortment of vegetables for sale. He took great pride in growing and selling tomatoes, potatoes, beans, cukes and zukes, and, for 10 years, even poinsettias.
After Greta died in 1998, Lee found a new interest — cooking and baking, which he approached with his trademark efficiency. He made hundreds of pies, cookies and cheesecakes every year. He delighted in entertaining big crowds of people.
Lee was a big man. He had big hands, big feet and a big inviting smile. He was filled with big ideas, big dreams and a big heart. He will long be remembered.
Lee was preceded in death by his loving wife, Margreta Risse; his brother, Norton; sister, Emily; and his parents.
He is survived by his sister, Mabel Cary of North Pole; children and their spouses, Carolyn Bloom and George Kendall, Kenneth and Susan Risse, Beverly and Clayton Clark, Glen and Crystal Risse and Duane and Jennifer Risse; and his grandchildren: Tony and Staci Bloom, Michael and Michelle Risse, Teresa, Kevin, Brett, and Wendy Clark, Eva, Lorene and Lena Risse and Brittany Bowers.
A memorial service will be held to honor and celebrate Lee’s life at 1 p.m., Saturday, April 21, at Fairbanks Lutheran Church on 1012 Cowles St., with a reception immediately following.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations in his memory to: Georgeson Botanical Garden, P.O. Box 755080, Fairbanks, AK 99775 or Fairbanks Lutheran Church’s Building Fund, 1012 Cowles St., Fairbanks, AK 99709.
Tonight on Your Alaska Link