Lee Pomerleau, age 79, gently transitioned out of his earthly body into the great unknown, on April 7, 2023, surrounded by family at his home in Frederic, WI. The first of four boys, Lee was born on October 7, 1943 to Elna and Roy Pomerleau in Minneapolis, MN, though most of Lee’s childhood was spent near Luck, WI. It was in the woods of Northwestern Wisconsin, where Lee spent a great deal of time, that he developed a deep love and respect of nature that guided him throughout his life.
Lee’s fondness of the outdoors and his solitary nature emerged when he was quite young. Before he was even old enough for school, he spent hours on end at the lake fishing, often with his rat terrier, Brownie, in tow. (He loved fish so much, even as a toddler, that he once stole his elderly neighbor’s goldfish right out of the bowl and brought it home, though it was swiftly returned!) Each winter, he spent countless hours ice skating, later passing on those skills by flooding the yard to make a skating rink at home. He loved hunting, and fondly recalled trips out west with his grandfather. Lee developed very astute observational skills from his time outdoors and was notorious for being the first to spot an animal, even if it was a single pheasant a hundred yards out from a moving vehicle at dusk! He would point it out and share some obscure fact before anyone could even spot it. He was also known to simply take time to enjoy the beauty around us, like when he would pull the car over so everyone could get out to properly view a stunning, fiery sunset.
Lee instilled both a sense of wonder in nature and a healthy dose of caution to those around him by always sharing important safety tips. He shared cautionary tales, like the time he fell through the ice on a frozen lake while ice fishing as a teenager. He was totally alone and miles from where anyone lived. He got himself out, built a fire to dry his clothes, and hiked back home unscathed. Lee had countless anecdotes, fun facts, tips and tricks for anyone who would listen. Other (mostly unsolicited) advice we received from him over the years included: If you’re biking on country roads, tape a stick to your bike with electrical tape for easy access. You can use that stick to fend off feral dogs or humans! Always take your seatbelt off when driving on a frozen lake, just in case you need to make a swift exit. You should always carry a flashlight and a pocket knife. This is true for all situations! If driving on wintry, icy roads and can’t stop, it’s better to hit a stop sign or a snow drift than skid into oncoming traffic. Never lay down while you eat! Ever! When hiking into caves, be careful not to inhale bat guano, as it can cause serious respiratory diseases. Keep your eye on the ball! Torx head screws are superior to Phillips head. (The advice was not always safety-related! He was happy to share sports or carpentry tips too!) Though we often did not ask for the advice, it was almost always helpful in the long run.
While Lee was perfectly content on his own, he was also very social and loved going to coffee every day, in all its iterations over the years. He especially enjoyed his time with the self-proclaimed Table of Truth & Knowledge, where he and some other old (perhaps curmudgeonly) men from Luck attempted to solve the world’s problems, or at least complained about them! He also taught himself to do many things, like when he bought a couple books on boat building, and then he proceeded to make a rowboat and a cedar-strip canoe, just because it sounded interesting. He constantly demonstrated that you can try new things at any age, and that books are always helpful. He was an avid reader, enjoying all kinds of books from The Birds of North America: A Field Guide to Scandinavian detective mysteries.
Lee’s sometimes gruff demeanor could be intimidating to some, especially when he was teaching (yelling at) you how to lay down flooring or paint a clean edge, but he still managed to show love and kindness in his own way. While it is impossible to find words to fully describe the unique person that was Lee, whose signature cut-off jeans, tube socks, and inside out pink sweatshirts will never be forgotten, we have done our best to share some of his most endearing qualities. Please join us at 1:00 pm on Saturday, April 29th at Crooked Lake Park in Siren to share stories and to celebrate his life. All are welcome.
You are invited to leave condolences, memories, and photos at www.rowefh.com. Arrangements are entrusted to Rowe Funeral Homes in Frederic, WI,