Eastern Mennonite University

May 18, 2007

Condolences

Lee Eshleman, EMU alumThe EMU community, local Harrisonburg area, broader Mennonite Church and communities beyond are saddened by the death of Lee Eshleman, a 1986 EMU graduate, on May 17.

We offer this space here as a place for you to share memories of Lee, condolences to the family and other comments for the broad network of people who are grieving this loss.

*No longer accepting new posts or comments.

Comments:

Lee, alongisde Ted, deepened my faith, giving me fresh ways to look at treasured Bible stories. I will continue to be grateful for the insights gained, and I will smile as I remember the laughs shared.

Posted by on June 5, 2007 03:49 PM

May the grace of Jesus Christ penetrate and envelope each one of us.

Posted by Chuck Snader on June 1, 2007 10:18 AM

We heard the news of Lee's death while visiting our son in Indonesia half a world away. A prophet, our friend, is gone. We are thankful for the life Lee led among us, but he left us too soon.

Posted by Keith and Linda Gnagey on June 1, 2007 10:05 AM

My son and I arrived late sunday afternoon to national youth conference in colorado last june. so we missed Ted and Lees performance in the moby arena. But we were fortunate to catch them one night in a small theatre on campus that week. My son and I connected with laughter on a christian level.My son and I are now closer thanks to that week at NYC. Ted and Lee were a Big part of us growing together in christ.
We are both saddened to hear the news. To the Eshelman family please accept our prayers for your family and know that while
Lee was here , Lee and Ted touched so many people and helped changed their lives greatly.
I pray that his ministry will continue.
May God be with your family and Ted as you go through this time of loss.

Kevin Murray (Annville Church of the Brethren)

Posted by kevin murray ACOB on June 1, 2007 07:51 AM

Your family has been in my thoughts and prayers. (You may not know me, but our children go to school together.) I do not claim to know exactly how you are feeling, but can relate to the pain of loosing a loved one as I've endured the loss of five family members throughout the last two years, including both a son and daughter. May the God who holds us close through our grief sustain you and give you peace.

Posted by Naomi Lambert and family on May 30, 2007 01:52 PM

We are thinking of you...And wishing you hope in the midst of sorrow,comfort in the midst of pain.

May the Lord comfort you and in His mercey,may He grant you the fortitude to bear the loss of the departed.

With Heartfelt Sympathy...

Yours in Christ,
Zakaria Bulus.
(EYN National Youth leader)
For.EYN YOUTH.

Posted by EYN YOUTH NIGERIA on May 29, 2007 01:53 PM

Reagan, Nicolas, Sarah & Gabe - Our hearts, tears, thoughts & prayers are with you as you begin a very difficult journey without your husband & daddy. Ted & Sue - You've lost not only a working partner, but a dear friend. You at Community Mennonite - You truly are a community, and with Lee's death, a gashing hole is left. May you all experience God's eagle wings holding you up during this time of deep anguish, and may you experience GOd's wisdom & comfort as you minister to each other during the days and months ahead. You are faithfully in our prayers.

Posted by Connie Ebersole on May 23, 2007 11:15 AM

What Lee has left behind through all the works that he as accomplished and through all the kindness, humor and humility he has shown to all those he has touched can never be erased. I will cherish all the things that I knew about him that made him the special person that he was. While I am sorry that I will not have the chance to see him again in this time and space, I am grateful I had the opportunity and the privilege to share in part of his life while he was here.

Posted by John Myers on May 23, 2007 08:21 AM

I am deeply saddened by the news of Lee's premature demise which I learned at the beginning of today's EMHS Development Committee Meeting.

The lyrics of "Candle in the Wind" come to mind as Lee's flame had shown so bright until it was extinguished much too soon...

I became well acquainted with Lee as both a friend and neighbor when we both lived in Maplewood (the EMHS dorm) during the 1979-1980 school year.

He was a genius who possessed a profound quality that compelled your to instantly love and admire him. Lee's talents were enormous and second only to his capacity to be a compassionate and caring friend who always helped you see the lighter side of life and to laugh - at him and yourself.

I can not begin to comprehend the profound loss that Reagan, Nicolas, Sarah, Gabe, Lee’s Parents and family must feel. It is at times like these that words are so inadequate to accurately describe and express our feelings… Please know that you all will be in my thoughts, prayers and the tears that I shed are for both the tragedy of Lee’s premature demise and your profound loss. Please know that if I can do any thing for you, I am at your service… any time night or day!

May God bless and keep each of you in the palm of his hand.

Bill Winkler
EMHS Class of 1980
Cell Phone: (571) 212-5398
E-mail: wdwinkler@verizon.net

Posted by Bill Winkler on May 22, 2007 05:35 PM

With thoughts too verbose to post here, I've written a page in Lee's memory at http://tinyurl.com/26by2c

Posted by Brad Lehman on May 22, 2007 10:11 AM

God has brought me such encouragement and comfort through Lee's ministry. After many times coming to the National Youthworkers Convention a bit tired and weary in the ministry, I came away so refreshed and blessed by the stories that Lee & Ted portrayed on stage. There was such a deep, deep refreshing that came through their ministry. And then I had the privilege as well to share their ministry with my senior high students as we experienced the beautiful portrayals on stage at DCLA. I had many great discussions with students as a result of the scenes portrayed by Lee & Ted.

I just am so very sad and grieved at this loss of life. Lee was such a gift to so many and my students and I will long mourn his death. Knowing that he is at peace from the turmoil for all eternity and praising Jesus face to face makes it bearable.

My heartfelt prayers go out on behalf of all his dear family, friends and his long-time ministry partner Ted. Blessings and comfort be yours.

Posted by amy werner on May 21, 2007 10:46 PM


High school, many,many,moons ago. I had the pleasure of spending one evening a week with Lee,in a Cell group for a year.
(Lee,Enid,Babak,Wanda,Ernie,myself)

Lee, thank you for the memories of love and laughter that you gave me and many others. You will be deeply missed, but never forgotten.

Posted by cathy stokes on May 21, 2007 09:35 PM

When Lee was in WSSY, I was about 10 years old. I was completely wide-eyed with amazement at this guy who was an artist, a fun person to be around AND had a ham radio license(!?). I remember showing Lee the crude "paint" program on my family's first PC, hoping he would create something artistic with it. My parents chimed in with "real artists don't use a computer." (How times have changed!)

I enjoyed reconnecting with Lee at Community Mennonite, years later, and seeing him as part of Ted & Lee.

My best to Regean and the rest of the family during this time of loss. Peace be with you.

Posted by Jeremy Good on May 21, 2007 04:08 PM

I knew Lee at EMC and we enjoyed many long talks in the cafeteria at the end of supper. Lee was the kind of guy who would find something funny and hang onto it until he had made everyone laugh with it. I remember him telling me a joke which totally cracked me up and about thirty minutes later from waaaaay across the cafeteria I heard him telling the same joke to someone else! Oh how we will miss his glee! You could always count on Lee to give you a 'unique and different' perspective to any problem you might be mulling over. How sad that one who gave so much to others should suffer so badly. To Reagan and the chldren, Bob and Rosalie, and Curtis I offer my sincerest sympathies. May your memories comfort you in this troubling time. Lee, I'll see you in heaven.

Posted by Jenni Nash Dorsey on May 21, 2007 03:46 PM

All weekend, here in the Newton, Kansas area, we have mourned the death of Lee. We remember the shows, the humor, and personal connections. Last summer, Ted and Lee served our Western District Conference of Mennonites with on-target skits on reorganization. Before their final presentation, they talked about their history and remembered that I shared in their very first performance twenty years ago. At the close of their act at the St. Louis conference, Lee and Ted jumped off the stage, raced down the aisle to the back, detoured slightly, and stopped to kiss my hand. Small touches of grace, powerful public performances, profound impact on many... Prayers to family and close friends. /rwr

Posted by rosella wiens regier on May 21, 2007 01:21 PM

Well, I saw you twice in action. 2002 & 2006 NYC! We will remember your funny acts and God will too. We love you and your stories. Also I pray that God will hold you in his hands as you enter his gates. We love you!
~Crystal

Posted by crystal auton on May 21, 2007 09:11 AM

I never had the pleasure of meeting Lee, however, I felt as if I knew him and I can relate to the pain and sorrow his family is experiencing with this difficult time. My prayers and condolences to Reagan, children and family. God will strengthen you in this time of sorrow.

Posted by Millie Tirado on May 21, 2007 08:58 AM

I don't really know what to say. I just met Lee a few months back and didn't know him terribly well. But in that short time, I was impressed by Lee's genuine concern for others—though he barely knew me, he was always sincerely interested in what I was working on and how my family was doing. And I'm glad to have had the fortune of sitting in meetings with Lee during which everything that left his mouth was laugh-out-loud funny. He had such an amazingly quick wit and incredible comedic delivery. I still can't believe he's gone.

Posted by Josh Tinley on May 21, 2007 08:12 AM

Regean, Nick, Sarah and Gabe thank you for the gift you were to Lee and through him to us. I ache for you all and pray that the outpouring of love and sorrow, laughter and tears soothes your hearts and souls.

Posted by RaMona Stahl on May 21, 2007 07:42 AM

When I was a lonely freshman at EMC, Lee - a year older and many ways wiser than I - invited me to join a milk and cookies party in his dorm room. As we read favorite bedtime stories in our pajamas and commented on God touching man as we gazed at Lee's reproduction of the Sistine Chapel ceiling, I felt a sense of deep belonging. Thank you, Lee, for that gift, for conversations during subsequent years at Community Mennonite, for the etching you gave us at our wedding, for the gift of laughter you bestowed upon a church too often too ready to squelch the humor of the gospel story. You showed me a glimpse of what it means to be touched by God. For that, I am grateful.

May those of you much closer to Lee be given a full and tumbling measure of cleanest grief, deepest sorrow, and healing grace.

Posted by Tobin Miller Shearer on May 20, 2007 09:58 PM

Lee, I can hardly believe that you left us. Through tears today I have reviewed pictures from college and the year we shared in WSSY. How we delighted in song, laughter, and silliness! One of our theme songs that year was Stevie Wonder's "I just called to say I love you, I just called to say how much I care" all we WSSYers would belt it out at the top of our lungs as we traveled back from Steve's ice cream to the big mustard yellow house on South Dakota avenue. I was so fortunate to call you my friend and "I want to say I mean it from the bottom of my heart".
I remember also, how you painted a replica of Michelangelo's Sistine chapel painting on the ceiling of one of your dorm rooms. The hand of God and the hand of Adam almost touching... Lee, you were inspired,your wacky genius reached so many in the Mennonite Church and beyond, you truly were one of God's divine sparks. I know you are lighting up heaven now with your wit and that your hand is finally held fully in God's embrace.
Prayers of comfort to Reagan, your children, your parents and brother and Ted.

Posted by Carol Grace Hurst on May 20, 2007 09:01 PM

After having had the privilege to meet Ted years ago and having my kids benefit from his work as a little league coach, his introducing Lee to me was an event that has suddenly gained great importance and meaning. I remember Lee's smile and handshake as particularly warm and sincere as he met someone he did not know nor had ever met. I could not help but think how appropriate and fitting that two such special people could find one another and later use their relationship in such an important way for so many throughout the years. Ted, please remember that you are in our prayers, and that God's ways are not to be fully understood, only trusted.

John, Barb, Justin, & Aaron German

Posted by John, Barb, Justin, and Aaron German on May 20, 2007 08:53 AM

I was at Lee's final performance. It was like going to a concert where you knew the songs, which made it all the more fun to sing along. The new twists and turns were just delightful, fresh surprises. Lee, as always, made me laugh - and pause before the marvelous story of Jesus. I'll never know how he could be such a bright light for all of us even while he was fighting a painful darkness we could not see.

We miss you so much, our brother. And for Ted, Reagan, and the kids - we remain family to you all forever.

Posted by John Grooters on May 20, 2007 07:33 AM

The first time I saw Ted and Lee perform was at EMU during a variety show that the radio station was doing called A Night on the Hill. From that first time I fell in love with this duo's comedy. The have made me appreciate the scriptures more fully by seeing them in a whole new light. Lee, you will forever missed for your comedic talent and warmth onstage.
Greg Sala, EMU Grad 1997

Posted by Greg Sala on May 19, 2007 11:16 PM

Victor Borge, another masterful comedian like Lee, once said that laughter is the shortest distance between two people. Anyone who has been blessed by Ted and Lee’s comedic ministry understands this truth—wherever they went they built bridges with humor and God’s message of compassion, hope and love, making us all feel just a little closer to one another. In talking to many people who knew Lee and reading various comments posted here it occurs to me that again we are being brought closely together as a community but this time it is through a shared sense of deep and profound loss—a loss I too have felt since learning of his passing. Even those of us who didn’t know Lee well personally were touched by his life, his laughter, and his illuminating presence in the world. My heart aches for those who were especially close to him and who will suffer his loss most acutely. I will pray that they be wrapped in God’s loving arms as they seek, in the days, weeks and months ahead, to say goodbye to Lee as husband, son, father, uncle, brother and friend.

Be at peace, Lee—you will be missed by many, but it makes me smile to know that your gifts of joy and laughter, bestowed so generously on those whose lives you touched, are now being returned to you in “full and overflowing measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over” (Luke 6:38).

Posted by Katrina Alger on May 19, 2007 09:56 PM

. . .the midst of the earth is a raging mirth
and the heart of the earth a star. (G.K.Chesterton)
Lee, with Ted, has taken us again and again to the laughter at the heart of things. With sore hearts we know it to be true.

Posted by Joan Yoder Miller on May 19, 2007 09:48 PM

I only knew Lee for a few hours at a writers' conference in Nashville, but I was deeply impressed by who he was and the gifts he offered. I am immensely saddened by his death, as I am also hurting for both Lee's family and for Ted. They are in my prayers.

Larry Beman

Posted by Larry Beman on May 19, 2007 07:12 PM

Growing up with parents who were friends with both Ted and Lee, going to watch numerous shows, and waiting afterwards among hundreds of other people to talk to them makes this a hard and almost unbearable weekend. Lee probably never remembered myself, though he remembered my family.

This past week in my health class we had been talking about suicide and how terrible it was and how many people it affects. After listening to my teacher talk about this Thursday in class and coming home to mortifying news, I was devastated. One of my other teachers was Ted's brother and he spoke in chapel on Friday. The whole student body was silent and you could hear loud gasps as he circulated this terrible news.

Lee, you've affected so many people's lives and you are so missed. My prayers are with you and your family.

Ted, my prayers are especially with you. I can't even imagine what losing a best friend and partner is like. Stay strong.

Posted by Rachel Speigle on May 19, 2007 05:15 PM

All of the air left our lungs most painfully when the news reached us in Colorado. We, and our daughters, will continue to grieve for you, and with those who will still look for you in familiar places, Lee. Reagan, Nicolas, Sarah, and Gabe, we pray that you can let yourselves be wholly held -- safe in the arms of God that are already surrounding you. What a gift was given to our entire community when Lee was born! And Ted, we commit to remember and support you as you suffer this loss of friend and partner. We STILL claim this passage: "For [we are] convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-40)

In this household, our calendar will reflect "Nigel Nevilson Day" every year on August 28. Perhaps Anabaptists hither and yon can celebrate Lee's birthday as a kind of "Joyful Disciple" day, in which we celebrate God's leading, and the influence of such gifted teachers as Lee and Ted. Through our pain and in our celebrations, we will continue to be church family, together.

Posted by Terry & Eldon Stutzman Mast on May 19, 2007 04:42 PM

After hearing the news Friday morning I could not seem to focus on anything. All I could think about was the great loss our community and others around the world would feel as the news traveled.

I met Ted & Lee this past summer at the Brethren National youth conference in Colorado. Both Ted & Lee brought a lot of insight and laughter to so many. My heart felt condolences go out to his wife, children and Ted. Also, to all those who knew Lee and were touched by his sweet spirit. Lee , I know that you are resting and rejoicing with our heavenly Father. We will miss you, but we will see you again my friend!

Posted by Kristin Reese on May 19, 2007 04:10 PM

I moved to Harrisonburg in January of 2005 and began attending a Sunday School class at Community Mennonite Church in which Lee gave some leadership. I knew and admired Lee's public persona as part of "Ted and Lee" and immediately came to admire the personal side -- the openness, the vulnerability, his acceptance of others, the lightheartedness and seriousness. My last connection with him was through e-mail -- I sent him a link to a "This American Life" episode which tells the story of evangelical pastor Carlton Pearson who "fell from grace" because of a change in his theology to be more inclusive. From the little I know of Lee's thinking, based on comments he had made in our Sunday School class, it seemed he was journeying to a similar place, and it's a testament to his love and unconditional acceptance of others. I feel a deep sadness and mourn his passing and will keep his family and Ted's in prayer.

Posted by Matt Carlson on May 19, 2007 02:41 PM

As a youth at the 2002 national youth conference, and a member of the 2006 Brethern Youth Conference Cabinent, I can not tell you how much of an honor it was to see Lee perform God's work. Lee was an amazing individual who has touched many people, especially the youth from the Brethern denomination. He has touched the lives of the young through the old, he has touched the future! Those that follow Lee will forever remember his humorous acts of scripture, and his spirit! My prayers are with everyone in this sad time, but may Lee rest with the Lord in Heaven.

Posted by Rachael Stevens on May 19, 2007 02:23 PM

I’m not sure why entirely and I may never know why, but Lee’s death has hit me hard personally. So, I speak for myself here. I did not know Lee as those of you close to him. Yet, I felt I knew him, in some strange way. Perhaps it is because I love and need laughter and he, and Ted, made me laugh long and hard. And, he made me think through this art on the stage something about Jesus and the Kingdom of God. The world and the church needs laughter and Ted and Lee were powerful instruments of healing.

Perhaps it is out of some of the pain in my own life that this loss hits me so hard. Or, maybe it is because something in the Mennonite Church died on May 17. Or, perhaps it is the reminder that while Lee struggled so deeply with depression that we all are in need of the grace of God through Jesus Christ. So, in a sad, yet profound way the death of Lee has been a reminder of the grace of God.

Phil Ebersole

Posted by Phil Ebersole on May 19, 2007 01:15 PM

Ted,
What a journey you and Lee must have travelled for so many years. Loving, supporting, helping, working with and being frustrated and hurt at times by one suffering with depression is quite a thing. May God continue to touch you and guide you and hold you and comfort you during this part of your journey with Lee as well.

Posted by Kate Reeve Spire on May 19, 2007 01:12 PM

Memories from high school: the Frisbee artiste, Monty Python, long talks, listening to Kansas (Song for America, and Lonely Wind--from the live album!) and Yes (especially the intro. to Yours Is No Disgrace, on YesSongs), looking at album covers by Roger Dean (Yes and Uriah Heep), did I mention Monty Python?, caricatures of classmates, and more long talks.

While visiting more than 10 years later, Lee was overjoyed to see that I have that Yes album, and we listened again. I'll never forget that.

A shining diamond in our midst.

Posted by KK on May 19, 2007 12:59 PM

The moment Ted and Lee came on stage I (Steve) would start laughing. They didn't have to say a thing! We loved having you as a neighbor here at Village Square and the funny story about how you and Reagan met when you both moved into neighboring units on the same day! I (Karen) remember your smiles, hugs, and always your interest in what Jeremy and Adam were doing. I particularly remember talking about your journey with mental health issues and wondering why "artistic types" often struggle. Jeremy and Adam both expressed their sadness in emails and wrote, "this makes me so sad, " and "I always liked Lee!" You are in our hearts!

Posted by Steve and Karen Moshier-Shenk on May 19, 2007 12:49 PM

One of my earliest memories of you Lee is a time we sat in your apartment at EMC and you had a piece of blue glass hanging in your window. I asked why, and you said, “…because if you look closely the sunlight makes it beautiful.” I don’t understand why those who choose to look at life so closely and search with such passion for beauty also experience moments of intense pain in their quest…. You were beautiful here on earth Lee and now I know somehow you have become part of that light that makes us beautiful…and I will forever look for you…when sunlight dances on blue glass.

Posted by Curt Weaver on May 19, 2007 12:28 PM

We thank God for the gifts of laughter, wisdom, and faith shared so powerfully and joyfully by Lee and Ted with so many of us over the years. We pray God's peace and grace on those most personally touched by Lee's death and for the Anabaptist community suffering the loss of a wonderful teacher. Thank you, Lee, for sharing the light that is not overcome by darkness.

Posted by Chris Bowman on May 19, 2007 11:47 AM

I met Lee at the National youth conference for the Church of the Brethren in 1998. What a great storyteller! So many have learned a new way of looking at the scripture. What a great loss. My heart and prayers go out to the family and friends.

Posted by Leah on May 19, 2007 11:16 AM

Ted, my prayers are doubly with you.

Posted by Dennis L. Brown on May 19, 2007 10:25 AM

My heart is heavy with grief at Lee's passing. With Ted he gave new understanding to biblical events to thousands of youth and adults gathered for the Church of the Brethren National Youth Conference over the years.
I only knew him from afar and I revel in the remembrances posted here. Even in his death he can make me smile. Go in peace, my brother. Rest in God's care. Your friends are coming to join you in the years to come.

Posted by Dennis L. Brown on May 19, 2007 10:24 AM

I was saddened to hear the news of Lee's passing. I am from Harrisonburg and have seen Ted and Lee at Mennonite conventions. I will continue to enjoy seeing Lee as information desk guy on Rosetta Stone which my ESOL students thorougly enjoy.

Posted by James Hurst on May 19, 2007 09:06 AM

After recognizing Lee's acting talents, in '93 I was able to get him a part in a movie that I had invested in. Although the movie was somewhat serious (about a preacher gone wild), he brought his usual levity to it and made it a great couple of days--not to mention a great performance. I'm so sorry that such a talent is gone, I guess we'll only left with the outtakes.

Clint Good

Posted by Clint Good on May 19, 2007 07:33 AM

This is dedicated to Lee:
"I believe that every human soul is teaching something to someone nearly every minute here in mortality." -- Russell Ballard
Thanx, Lee for all you taught so many of us.
Indeed, we do miss you already.
Now God is your teacher.
Embrace the Light, and Love.
Peace, Brother.

Posted by DawnRose Hurst-Stultz on May 19, 2007 06:05 AM

Lee was a couple years ahead of me at EMU and everyone knew who he was, particuarly through theater productions. I got to know him personally later as part of a large group of singles hanging out together. I spent over 10 years in a church small group with Ted and his family and heard so many Ted & Lee stories and saw so many productions, and also spent more time at the same church with Lee and Reagan and their family.

Lee's life intersected mine and many others in so many ways, and in reading the comments here, it certainly seems that he left an impression wherever he went. Funny, creative, always ready with a big hug...he will surely be missed by many.

Posted by Marcia Stutzman on May 19, 2007 12:45 AM

We are deeply grieving the news of Lee's death. I have been watching Ted and Lee since 1995, and got to work with them to plan worship for several Mennonite conventions and host them twice at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary. Their amazing way of opening up scripture texts has been such a gift to the church. But I also deeply appreciated the way both Lee and Ted made everyone feel like a friend--they truly went beyond "performers" and also became "hosts." They took time after performances--whether in churches, convention centers, or theatres--to talk to my children. I remember arriving at the convention center in Charlotte, and Lee was unloading equipment from their van. My kids yelled hello to him from across the street, and Lee gave a big wave and asked them how they were doing. Today there were many tears and hugs at our house, and at AMBS. To Lee's family, congregation, and community, and to Ted--know that we are holding you in our prayers.

Posted by Janeen Bertsche Johnson on May 18, 2007 11:38 PM

I don't know what to say ! I'm so saddened by the loss of Lee. I got to know him at Bluegate Theatre in Shipshewana IN and have so enjoyed getting to know both Lee and Ted. Such an inspiration ! I just weep and pray for Lee's family and also Ted's. see ya later, Lee. you are already missed.

Posted by Lorena Mast on May 18, 2007 11:12 PM

I remember Lee as my classmate from the Class of 1981 at EMHS. There are a few specific recollections that come to mind. The first one was experimenting with writing Haiku poetry in Miss Beechey's English class. Now, if you knew Miss Beechey, you knew she was uncompromising in a motherly yet somewhat forbidding way, and I found myself half afraid of the class.

Well, I remember sitting apprehensively as she read the poems anonymously in class. By a show of hands we were asked to guess the student authors of each poem. What a relief (and compliment) at having most classmates think that my attempt at Haiku was actually Lee's writing! On one or two occasions afterwards he found a way to gently tease me about it. He was the guy who was good at everything. I miss him.

Posted by Tim Baker on May 18, 2007 10:24 PM

Lee,

I miss your gift of prophetic laughter. Go well.

Posted by anonymous emu graduate on May 18, 2007 10:19 PM

My wife Tina(Pennington)Newson knew Lee well. Her parents adopted him in when he was in Miami years ago. They attended Homestead Mennonite Church,Miami.
BROTHER!!!! WE WILL!!! MEET IN HEAVEN!!! Only God truly knows us. Peace to your wife and children. Thank you Jesus!!!

Posted by Tim Newson on May 18, 2007 09:36 PM

When I arrived in Richmond, Virginia, to serve as pastor of First Mennonite Church in 1976, I stayed with Lee's parents while I looked for an apartment to rent. It didn't take long for me to become acquainted with the humor, creativity, inquisitiveness, artistry and compassion that were Lee. He and Doug Reed (who later became affiliated with Chicago's Second City) never stopped hatching fun in Sunday School and MYF. Lee's humor was evident early. I still recall his response to another member of the Sunday School Class when she asked what Saul did with the two hundred Philistine foreskins David delivered to him. I'm still smiling at his answer. When he and I wrote skits for worship, Lee thought we should have a name for the productions. He came up with: Bruce/Lee - you'll get a kick out of us. Lee we all got a kick out of you. Rest in peace, you beautiful child of God.

Posted by Bruce Yoder on May 18, 2007 08:44 PM

I too am heartbroken by Lee's death. My greatest sorrow is that this friend of the church who helped us to discover wisdom through laughter suffered such despair and pain himself. Perhaps the best tribute we can give for him is to renew our commitment to let the word of God live among us, and to let the gift of laughter live on in our midst - as I'm sure he would want for us. May God shelter Lee's family, his colleague Ted, and all who are close to them with strength and healing in the days to come.
- Heidi Regier Kreider, pastor - Bethel College Mennonite Church (North Newton, KS)

Posted by Heidi Regier Kreider on May 18, 2007 08:19 PM

I have found memories of Lee from when I was a little girl. Lee had a small art studio in our basement when I was 6 years old. I would often go down and visit him while he was working. When I would come down the stairs he always gave me a smile, would pick me up, put me on his lap and allow me to use his art supplies to draw a picture. This made me feel really special. Lee, you probably did not realize the special memories you gave a little girl to carry with her. Thank you.

Posted by Laura Helmuth on May 18, 2007 06:44 PM

I hardly know what to say. Lee was so fun to be around. I'll remember the laughter and the biblical insight he brought to every conversation. Prayers and peace.

Posted by Jenny Youngman on May 18, 2007 05:07 PM

I am deeply saddened. Lee's humor and inspiration just lightened my life in so many ways. His quick wit was a wonderful gift to me and to the church. My prayers go out to Lee's wife, children and family. And, also to Ted and his family. It is very difficult to lose a friend.

Posted by Eddy Thornhill on May 18, 2007 04:59 PM

We only had a few days working with Lee and Ted, but we remember the laughter, creativity, insight, and grace that we experienced together. We feel the loss greatly—not just for us, but also for the many who have been blessed by his life and particular gifts. Our prayers will continue for Lee's family and for Ted and the others who loved him.

Posted by Crys Zinkiewicz on May 18, 2007 04:39 PM

I am heartbroken upon hearing of Lee's death just now. His death is a tragic loss for all the church. My heart goes out to Lee's family and to Ted and his family and the EMU community!

Ted and Lee performed and proclaimed the biblical drama in more profound and provocative ways than most of us ever will in teaching and preaching! Ted and Lee performed here at Seattle Mennonite Church twice over the past 10 years much to the delight of everyone from the youngest to the oldest. The last time I saw and heard Ted and Lee was at MC USA in Charlotte where one of their worship performances moved me deeply. It included a personal reference point with Jesus' disciples that I will always treasure.

Posted by Weldon Nisly on May 18, 2007 04:31 PM

When I was a freshman at EMC (yeah, I'm that old) they used to show outdoor movies on an old (probably stolen) bed sheet tacked up on the Oakwood wall. Lee was sitting in front of us making wise cracks during the movie. At one point someone tripped over the extension cord (correction-cords) and the movie promptly stopped. Lee, in classic form, loud enough for all to hear said, "Well that's an unusual ending for a movie." I remembering thinking that humor is a gift, a blessed gift to be shared and enjoyed. You never know when your comments will fall on someone in a way that they remember forever. May God wrap His mighty, loving, capable arms around those who loved Lee and weep for his memory. I'm praying for his family and friends.

Posted by Dawn Mast on May 18, 2007 04:27 PM

Lee had been a classmate at EMU, and our paths crossed from time to time since then.
Two memories: 1) listening to Lee tell stories with a teddy bear as a prop at a, uhm, pajama party. :-) Ahhh, the life of a college student!
2) praying with Lee backstage as he was preparing to go onstage at the MC-USA assembly in Atlanta.

laughter and tears all mixed up in a glorious mess. Thank you, Lee for the many gifts you shared with so many people.

Posted by Les Horning on May 18, 2007 04:06 PM

Lee was a WSSY student in D.C. when I was a child and my dad, Nelson Good (5/44-7/05), was coordinating the program. I have clear memories of his fun-loving presence over the years; and photos he took of us kids for a photo class still hang in my parents' home. We have crossed paths a number of times since. I probably feel like I know him far better than I did -- he was that kind of guy. Heart-felt sadness . . .

Posted by Deborah Good on May 18, 2007 04:03 PM

I hope you are at peace Lee, you deserve nothing less...

Posted by Patience on May 18, 2007 03:13 PM

I received the tragic news about bedtime Thursday evening and felt a chill radiate through my body. There has been too much sad news of late, and this adds to the pain.

Losing this brilliant, creative, blithe spirit, who made us laugh at our own foibles while recreating biblical characters and events in fresh, inspiring ways, is just not right. But then, many things in life can be so unfair, unjust, as we struggle just to keep our corporate chins above water. One of the hardest things to accept is that life goes on in the midst of our grief, trying to understand what is happening. Let us remember and celebrate Lee's life and legacy even as we pray for God's Spirit to touch and comfort those he leaves behind.

I'm stopping by the Cathartic Cafe, Lee. See you there ...

Posted by Jim Bishop on May 18, 2007 03:07 PM

Lee grew up with our children and was a good friend to them. He was in many ways almost one of our family. We grieve deeply over his loss, and weep with his family. May they find comfort in God's healing arms. May Lee finally rest in quiet and peace.

Posted by Constance Longacher on May 18, 2007 02:56 PM

The sadness is deep indeed. This morning as I tried to work, in spite of the news, I felt weak...weak with sorrow. We want Lee, once again, to walk off the pages of the Gospels and bring healing -- to himself and to all of us -- as he did so often on the stage.
For now, we will hold each other tenderly and weep.
-- Earl

Posted by Earl Martin on May 18, 2007 02:24 PM

It is so hard to know what to say. My prayer for our community is to sense God's presence in this difficult time.

I will have fond memories of the unique perspective Lee brought to the old old stories.

Posted by Sam Sauder on May 18, 2007 02:20 PM

I never had a chance to meet Lee but have heard many wonderful things about him over my time at EMU. I am thinking of his family and friends and wishing them peace through this difficult time.

Posted by Marcy Gineris on May 18, 2007 02:02 PM