Lee J. Simanek, aka Lee Walker entered heaven’s gate Wednesday, Nov. 30th with his loving wife, Rose, holding his hand.
Lee was born July 24, 1952 in Racine, WI to Leo and Lucille Simanek.
From an early age Lee loved to sing. At 4 years old, he would sit out on the swing and sing, “Making Believe” hour after hour! He started his music career at 14 and organized bands. His parents and grandparents were instrumental, supporting, and encouraging his music career. At 18, he organized Lee and the Countrymen and adopted the name Lee Walker as that sounded more country!! Over the years, Lee performed all over from Wisconsin to Nashville. Lee was blessed to have a melodious voice with perfect pitch. Country music was one his passions. He would say; “If it isn’t country, it isn’t music”! He had a desire to promote talent. Hence the name, Lee Walker Country Music Showcase. He always wanted the best professional show for the crowd. It was important to Lee to promote the musicians on stage with him and yet, he never promoted himself. He wanted perfection and had a phrase that he loved, “Good enough is not good enough.” He taught his musicians appearance, attitude, ability, performance, practice, and preparedness were all equally important. Country music was a huge part of his life – but it did not define him.
Lee was a rare complicated yet incredible man with a quick wit; a bigger than life personality, multi-talented and a beautiful voice that would serve him well in music, business, and all aspects of life. Blessed to have a brilliant mind- knowing every Green Bay Packer since the ice bowl, to his vast library of music in his mind, to his ability to calculate loans without a calculator (because they just slowed him down). A critical thinker but would say; “don’t overthink, just do it”.
He had a childlike bewilderment that was heartwarming. The first snowfall every year was like the first he ever experienced. Mr. Christmas, starting the day after Thanksgiving looking for the “perfect” tree to making the traditional Simanek Christmas cookies at 2 in the morning. Music playing and covered in flour, he was in his glory. Decorating outdoors at midnight, and snow falling, he thought life couldn’t be better.
He had a never ending drive. He would say; “I work hard and I play hard.” He LOVED life and lived it to the fullest. What he loved, he loved with a passion. He loved his family and was always proud of any accomplishments they would have. He loved traditions. He loved country music, his job, having fun, good food, sports, fishing, nature, and how he loved the deer. And yes, in his day, he loved to party. What he loved he invested 150% of himself in it. While often demanding, he was also known for his kind, fair, and generous nature.
A rare breed that truly rejoiced in family, friend, and client’s good fortune. He loved his friends. A man that was not afraid to tell a friend that he loved them.
Lee had an uncanny and keen sense of awareness to see future things. Many of us thought he was nuts, but lo and behold time would bring it to be.
No matter the problem or how dismal something may have been, Lee was the eternal optimist. He would say “tell me the plan and I can adapt to it”.
Never afraid of change, he would say “no cement boots for me”. That reflected over the years in his occupations from clothing stores, factories, sales, owning and operating clubs, to the mortgage industry. He served in the National Guard. He was always open to a new venture.
Lee was an ambitious man, with unending energy that was reflected in every area of his life. Anticipation of any joyous occasion filled his heart. He lived life to the fullest and said; “Life never cheated me.”
Lee was a very physically strong man but even more so he was an emotional rock. He faced cancer with strength, determination, and dignity. The Finnish word SISU defined him. During his fight, he found the Lord and surrendered his life to Him. He had a fight within him to survive the cancer. He fought until he knew the painful ugly battle was not to be won. He faced that with an inspiring attitude,” I gave it my all”. As life was coming to an end, Lee’s direction to us all was; “To Love One Another, Love Life, Have Fun, and Love Christmas”. Then God said it’s time my warrior –it’s time to come home. He accepted that and entered the arms of Jesus Wednesday, Nov 30th.
Lee is survived by his wife, Rose. Children: Rebecca (Roger) Eisel, Matthew (Crystal) Simanek, Josh (Laura) Pederson. Grandchildren: Britney (Justin), Chelsea (Dillon), Cody, Joe, Ellie. Great granddaughter Karyssa. Father- in-law: Ken Anderson, Sister: Debbie (Dick) Baumann, Brother- in-law Bob (Karie) Anderson, Sisters- in- law: Pam (Dennis Hehl), Julie (Don Lawrence), Nieces, Nephews, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and many wonderful friends.
In lieu of a funeral there will be a celebration of Lee’s life on Saturday May 20th, 2023 at the Manitowish Community Center, Manitowish Waters, WI.