The Geneva community is remembering this week a former professor whose joy and integrity were hard to miss.
Dr. Stewart M. Lee, professor emeritus of economics, passed away Tuesday, July 31. Retiring in 1991 after serving 42 years on Geneva’s faculty, his roots beside the Beaver Vale run deep; his father, Dr. C. M. Lee, was also a longtime professor and served as president of the college from 1949 to 1956.
Friends and colleagues loved Dr. Lee for his excellence intellectually and personally and his deep interests that ranged from his special area of expertise—consumer economics—to “everyday” things like his wife Ann’s stellar macaroni and cheese.
“He said it had just the right ratio of cheese to macaroni,” recalls McCartney Library Technician Bob Triance, a tenant in Dr. Lee’s home on College Hill for 16 years. “He and his family enjoyed the simple pleasures in life.”
During his tenure at Geneva, Dr. Lee authored a well-regarded textbook on consumer economics and was appointed to several governmental panels, including the President’s Consumer Advisory Council and President Nixon’s Commission on International Trade and Investment Policy. He also served as president of the American Council of Consumer Interests and traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, in 1978 as a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
A lifelong member at the College Hill Reformed Presbyterian Church next door to the college, Dr. Lee was "a quiet, winsome R.P. elder" according to Dr. Paul Kilpatrick, professor of linguistics. He was a friend and supporter of Ralph Nader's consumerism and Charles Reich's environmentalism, Kilpatrick notes, as well as a staunch supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment and civil rights. Both Nader and Reich visited Geneva on Dr. Lee's invitation.
“He profoundly challenged and shaped my thinking,” Kilpatrick says. “His legacy for me is that he was able to [interact with] opponents and differences in an engaging way—no anger, no fear, no personal attacks. He wanted us to talk about ideas like justice and love and equality in ways that respected differences of ideas but demanded responsibility for actions.”
Dr. Lee is survived by his wife of 60 years, Ann, and daughter, Dr. Kathryn Lee; two sisters, Margaret Boyce and Ellen Smith; 24 nieces and nephews; and many great-nieces and great-nephews.
A memorial service is set for 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 3, at College Hill Reformed Presbyterian Church, 3217 College Avenue, Beaver Falls, PA 15010. A private interment will take place at Grandview Cemetery, also in Beaver Falls. Memorial contributions may be made to the Dr. Stewart M. Lee Endowed Scholarship, Office of Institutional Advancement, Geneva College, 3200 College Avenue, Beaver Falls, PA 15010.
Designated as a Pennsylvania College of Distinction, Geneva is recognized as one of the best places in the state for students to learn, to grow, and to succeed.