On July 26, 2018, Lee John Lalli, 89, our dear husband, father, grandfather, uncle and friend, tenderly kissed his sweet wife twice and then quietly slipped through the veil, taking with him his brilliant mind, impeccable character and Christ-like attributes of love, kindness and faith, but leaving with us a legacy that will always be cherished.
Lee was born May 21, 1929, at the old Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah, to Italian immigrants Michael and Rose Pecorelli Lalli. His sole sibling, Carolyn, was born 14 years later.
His growing-up years were spent in Wilson Lane, near Ogden, on the family farm with his parents, maternal grandparents and uncle Ray all residing in the same small home. His paternal grandparents were also close by, as was too an Italian prisoner of war camp, which Lee walked past each day on his way to school.
At an early age, Lee learned the importance of hard work. Strapped to a homemade leather harness, he pulled a heavy plow through potato fields while Ray, who was five years Lee’s senior, held the reins. Each fall, Lee would hurry home from school, roll up the legs of his bib overalls and stomp on large quantities of grapes to refurnish the family’s wine barrels.
For entertainment, Lee enjoyed listening on his little brown radio to New York Yankees games, and throughout his life he remained an avid Yankees fan. Since age 7, Lee also enjoyed playing the saxophone, his mother’s favorite instrument, and sometimes spent up to eight hours practicing without a break. At age 14, with World War II underway, Lee often played with well known jazz bands at the White City Ballroom in Ogden, where he had started working at age 9 as a custodian and groundskeeper alongside his father and uncles.
Lee was the student body president at Weber High School and the valedictorian of his class. He attended Weber Junior College and the University of Utah, where he excelled in mathematics, speech and music. While attending law school at the U, Lee worked long hours as a mortician at Evans & Early Mortuary.
Professionally, Lee was a leader in the life insurance industry and gained both local and national recognition for his achievements with several companies, including Penn Mutual, Mass Mutual, Sun Life and Guardian. For his accomplishments, Lee was featured in various publications, including Post and Fortune magazines.
On June 30, 1950, Lee married Ann Janette Hepworth in Bountiful, Utah. To this union, five children were born. They also raised grandson Scott Lalli. Lee later married Jaclyn Thomas Milne in Provo, Utah, on Dec. 21, 1995, and their marriage was solemnized on March 4, 2006, in the Mount Timpanogos Utah temple.
Although Lee was born and raised Catholic, he joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 9, 1959, and immediately embraced his newfound religion wholeheartedly, faithfully serving in many leadership and teaching capacities throughout his life, including home teacher, softball coach, youth instructor, bishop, high councilor and counselor in a stake presidency.
In addition to his church service, Lee also enjoyed giving of his time coaching youth and young adult baseball teams. He was known for miles around as the “Voice of Viewmont” on the radio, and he helped lead the Bellevue Bruins to win the NAIA baseball national championship in 1995.
Lee is survived by his wife, Jaclyn; sister, Carolyn (Ken) Lane; children John (Valarie) Lalli, Jan (Bill) Heriford, Lisa (Gary) Flinders, Mark (Michelle) Lalli, and Matthew (Andra) Lalli; stepson Eli (Megan) Milne; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The family thanks the many physicians, nurses, friends, neighbors and others who have helped Jaclyn tend to and care for Lee over the past several months.
Lee often said: “Good, better, best – never let it rest ‘til the good gets better and the better gets best.” Thank you, Lee, for giving us your best and helping us to become better. God bless and be with you until we meet again.
- Funeral services will be held Saturday, Aug. 4, at 2:30 p.m., at the Morningside stake center, 881 S. River Road, St. George, Utah.
- A viewing will be held at 1 p.m. on that date at the same location.
- Interment will be at the Tonaquint Cemetery, 1777 S. Dixie Dr., St. George, Utah.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Metcalf Mortuary, 435-673-4221.
For condolences, full obituary and funeral listings please visit Metcalf Mortuary online.