Cover photo for Clarice Lee's Obituary
Clarice Lee Profile Photo
1926 Clarice 2023

Clarice Lee

May 1, 1926 — April 13, 2023

Centennial, Colorado

Precious Memories

Clarice Jean Lee

What can be said about Clarice Jean Lee? This woman was a force of nature, a force to be reckoned with, a force worthy of emulation. She was a caring mother, devoted wife, faithful sister, tireless caregiver, the embodiment of hope, a symbol of strength, and a quiet, reserved hero to her family and friends. Clarice raised seven children of her own and was instrumental in the upbringing and guidance of countless more, from neighbor children to her nieces and nephews. She was never above feeding, clothing, or caring for those in need. It was a known fact that her love knew no bounds.

Clarice was born on May 1, 1926, in Wisner, Louisiana to Titus and Angel Butcher. She was blessed with nine brothers: Webster, Russell, Charles, Harold, Louis, John, Lynn, Titus Jr., and Lawrence and ten sisters: Stazzie, Isaphena, Alice, Juanita, Maggie, Gladys, Berteal, Authoree, Geraldine and Arletha, and their lives were good.

When she was young, Titus and Angel allowed Clarice to move to Colorado to live with her older sisters and her grandmother, Julia Shaw. Mrs. Shaw lived in Colorado Springs, and Clarice attended William J. Palmer High School prior to moving to Denver to live with her sisters. There, she graduated from Manual High School, one of the first schools to educate African Americans and women. She had known Ruben Lee, Sr. when she lived in Louisiana, and the year after she graduated, the two married. Clarice had joined Zion Baptist Church when she arrived in Denver, and Ruben joined after their marriage. They worked tirelessly together in the church, with Ruben heading up the trustee board for many years. They were kindred spirits, always on the same wavelength, and although they lived in Denver for a period, and they maintained their church membership, both knew that they did not want to raise their children in an urban area, so they purchased land south of the city.

Ruben and Clarice were among the first residents of the area now known as Centennial. Together, they built their first small home and bore five children: Patricia Anne, Betti Louise, Ruben, Jr., Ralph Edward, and Michael David. The next home, which they also built, was much larger, and the last two Lee’s were born there: Malcolm Leroy and Darrin Curtis. The years were blessed, and they aided in the creation of the Cherry Creek School District as two of the first members of the PTA and planning committee. They purchased more land, and started their business, United States Disposal Systems (USDS), building it into the largest privately-owned garbage company in the United States.

While Ruben collected trash, Clarice drove from house to house with all of her children in tow and collected payments from their clients. She also did bookkeeping at the kitchen table, until they opened a regular office in Derby, now known as Commerce City, Colorado. The Lee kids remember her taking care of the farm animals that they owned. They raised pigs, had a few cows, turkeys, and many chickens, and when any animal was sick, Clarice would take them in and attempt to heal them. At one point, we had a baby pig that had been stepped on by its mother. The poor animal had a gaping hole with a flap of skin in its side, and she took the lid from an orange juice can and placed it over the wound to close the pig’s side. She then wrapped it with gauze and the little pig survived. Her name was Lucy, and she was a pet around the house for some time!

The Lee family saw many changes to the Centennial area, and they were well known by the rest of the residents. Ruben and Clarice sent their children to college, then watched as they all settled down with wives and husbands. Many grandchildren were products of their marriages. Ruben was a Rotarian and served as the first African American president of the Rotary Club in Colorado. Since the children were all out of the house, they traveled with the Coast Guard Auxiliary and The Rotary Club, enjoying each other’s company. In 1990, Ruben passed away, and Clarice did not marry again, but instead did what she always had – take care of all of the children.

Clarice Jean Lee departed this life to the embrace of the Lord on April 13, 2023, in her home in Centennial, Colorado.  She lived a long and fruitful life, and she leaves behind a multitude of individuals who will love and cherish her until we all meet again.  Her son, Malcolm preceded her in death, but she leaves her remaining children, Patricia (James, deceased), Betti (Jeffrey, deceased), Ruben (Sandra), Ralph (Kimberly), Michael (Anne), and Darrin (Katherine). Clarice leaves the loves of her life - her grandchildren and great grandchildren, James (daughters Jordyn and Sienna), Stacy (husband, West, Sr. and children Leeanne and West, Jr.), Meghan, Alexander (wife Crystal, and daughters Mia, Lily and Ariana), Evan (wife Annie and children Ava and Ezekial), Brian (wife Alexis and Brian, Jr.), David (Brandie), Brandon (Flower), Lauren (her daughter Ellie), Madison, Christopher (wife Taylor and sons Mason and Maverick), Caitlyn, Marissa, and Matthew; of her sisters and brothers, she leaves, Authoree, Berteal, Geraldine, and Arletha. Clarice leaves numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and those who loved and will always love her. The joy of her life has not been abated nor will it ever dim.

Clarice was truly a force of nature, a force to be reckoned with, and forever a force fully worthy of emulation.

Donations in the name of Clarice J. Lee can be made to:

Colorado Palliative and Hospice Care

6551 S Revere Pkwy Ste 130

Centennial, CO 80111

(303) 727-5709

coloradophc.com

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Monday, May 1, 2023

9:00 - 11:00 am (Mountain time)

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Celebration of Life

Monday, May 1, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Mountain time)

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Graveside Service

Monday, May 1, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm (Mountain time)

Fort Logan National Cemetery

4400 W Kenyon Ave, Denver, CO 80236

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Reception

Monday, May 1, 2023

Starts at 3:30 pm (Mountain time)

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