Former Speaker Lee dies

KENNETH LEE

BY ROBERT L. BAKER

Former State Rep. Kenneth B.  Lee who represented Susquehanna County for 18 years, died last Thursday. He was 88.

Lee was first elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1956 and ultimately represented Sullivan, Wyoming, and Susquehanna Counties. For 12 of those years he served in leadership capacities as Minority Leader, Majority Leader and as the Speaker of the House from 1967-68 and 1973-1974.  In 1974 he ran unsuccessfully for Lieutenant Governor.

During his legislative career he played a major role in the development of the modern Pennsylvania Legislature.  He served on the Commission for Legislative Modernization and the 1968 Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention, established the House Ethics Committee and new ethics restrictions, and inaugurated the nation’s first Legislative Data Processing Center.  He also served as a member of the Joint State Government Commission, the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee, the Pennsylvania Commission on Interstate Cooperation, and the Pennsylvania General State Authority.

A native of Nauvoo, Lee was raised in Tioga and Sullivan counties, the latter of which he also served as District Attorney from 1953-1957.

He was a B-24 pilot during World War II with his service record highligfted in the book, ‘Defenders of Freedom.’

He was a graduate of Mansfield University where he played baseball and basketball in the late 1940s.

He was married for more than 66 years to the former Marjorie Cole of Meshoppen, and is survived by five children, including Kenneth E. Lee who also served in the Pennsylvania legislature.

A private Graveside Service was to be held at the Eagles Mere Cemetery.

Family and friends are invited to a celebration of his life to be held at the Eagles Mere Country Club on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. with special remembrances at 3 p.m.