Friday, November 30, 2007

Remembering Tom Lee

I received word of Cal Poly Hall of Famer Tom Lee's death late Thursday night, but I wasn't able to write anything until today for the Web and for Saturday's paper. It was one of the toughest stories I've written having covered Lee's son, Larry, as Cal Poly and Cuesta's baseball coach for eight years now. I'd spot Tom at nearly every game I covered, sitting right there behind the plate rooting on his son's teams.
I also interviewed Tom dozens of times about his sons, or for Hall of Fame stories and obits on other Cal Poly legends. His stories were always classic.
Tom, a former Cal Poly coach and PE instructor, died at his San Luis Obispo home Thursday afternoon. He was 90.
Tom retired from the physical education and recreation department in 1988.
He came to Cal Poly in 1952 when he was hired as the varsity baseball, freshman football and boxing coach. Tom coached all three sports until the late 1950s and continued coaching boxing for 12 years until it was discontinued in 1963.
You can read more about his legacy in Saturday's paper, or you can find it at late tonight. A funeral is planned for next Friday at the Old Mission Church in San Luis Obispo.
I talked to a bunch of people around the community today, and the stories they had about Tom Lee were almost as classic as his own tales. Everything from how he fought in WWII, had the brakes go out on the family car during their move to SLO (going down the Cuesta Grade of all places), and how he even played in the NBC World Series alongside Satchel Paige. I saw a comment had already been posted just minutes after posting a short breaking news story on Lee's passing at and thought this could also be a good forum for readers to post their stories/memories about Tom as well. If you have any you would like to share, please feel free to do so in the comment section below.

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