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Lee Dead at 91
Yorktown Loses Long-time Resident
by Rick Pezzullo

Arthur Chadeayne Lee, a resident of Yorktown for more than eight decades, died Sunday of heart failure at the home he built 50 years ago on Crompond Road.

He was 91.

Lee was born February 27, 1897 to Anson Lobdell Lee and Mary Chadeayne Lee on a farm on Granite Springs Road. With the exception of eight years during the 1930's when he resided in Peekskill, Lee lived his entire life in Yorktown and was viewed as a town historian by those interested in local history.

People refer to me when they want me to give them information. People don't live so long any more and they take the information with them," Lee said three weeks ago in an interview with the North County News.

Lee was first educated in an elementary school near the Yorktown Presbyterian Church.

He had belonged to that church since 1911, serving as its treasurer for 18 years, deacon for 16 years and elder for 40 years.

He also published two books about the church's history.

After enrolling in a school on Hanover street for two years, he completed his high school education taking the train to Washington Irving High School in Tarrytown since Yorktown did not offer 11th or 12th grades at the time. A milk wagon was Lee's transportation to the train station.

After high school, Lee attended business school in Peekskill, where he roomed with the night watchman of the Westchester county National Bank. It was that watchman who gave Lee a job tip that would lead to a 46-year career at the bank, now known as Chase National Bank of Westchester.

That employment as a teller was interrupted only by World War I and the Great Depression of 1929, when the bank closed for several months.

On September 6, 1930, Lee married Charlotte Martens and moved from Peekskill to Yorktown, taking up residence in a new house he built next door to the 60-acre farm to which his family had moved when he was three.

Lee, who served in the Nay during World War I, was a member of the Yorktown senior citizens' organization, the Yorktown Grange Fair Committee and the Yorktown Rotary Club. He was also a key contributor to the Yorktown Museum.

"He was a part of the museum, the Grange Fair and the (Presbyterian) church and when you think of those three things you think of Arthur Lee," said Doris Auser, Yorktown's historian. "To say he's going to be missed is ridiculous because you can't put into words how much he will be missed.

"He's been a mainstay of the museum since it opened (August 1966), " Auser added. "He was responsible for many facts and artifacts and was always here as a tour guide. He was one of our most active volunteers."

Rotary Club member and past President Walt Chimel said Lee exemplified the club's motto "service above self."

"Certainly all the qualities that made him such a great contributor to the community will be missed by the club." Chimel commented. "One of the proudest moments in the Rotary Club's history was when we made Arthur C. Lee an honorary member (1985). We all benefited from this thoughtfulness and insight and his activity in the club."

Lee was also a member of the Rip Van Winkle Council of the Boy Scouts of American and was a post commander and post adjutant of Yorktown's American Legion Post 1009, where he recently received a 50-year membership award.

Yorktown Supervisor Nancy Elliott remembered Lee as a generous person who taught young children town history.

"He was a wonderful person who had endless knowledge of the community and was so generous in sharing it with us, Elliott commented. "he lived a long and fruitful life and he'll be missed."

Lee, who was named to the Yorktown Senior Citizens Hall of Fame May 11, 1984, is survived by a daughter, Mary Gellhaus, a teacher, who lived in Kingston, New York; a son, William, who is a doctor and lives in South Carolina; and six grandchildren.

His wife died in 1978, and another son, Arthur Chadeayne Lee Jr. Died in the service in 1961.

Funeral services will be held today (Wednesday) at 2 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Yorktown, with burial to follow at Hillside Cemetery in Peekskill.

Donations can be sent to the First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown, Arthur Chadeayne Lee Memorial Fund, 2880 Crompond Road, Yorktown Heights, New York 10598.

Source: North County News


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