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You could always rely on John Lee

Editor's View
By: Martha Garcia, Loomis News Editor
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If you knew John Lee, you were one of the lucky ones. If you didn’t, you missed knowing one of Loomis’ treasures. At a memorial service at, his family and friends reminisced about John’s life. It’s fitting that Lee’s memorial service was held at Veterans Memorial Hall, as he served in the Navy during World War II. Most of all, they recalled, John was a creature of habit. That meant that he would have breakfast weekly with his son Mike Lee and friends. Until poor health prevented it, he also enjoyed playing golf with them in El Dorado Hills on Sundays. His daily routine included visits to Main Drug Store and its quaint soda fountain. During the last two years you could find him there about noon every Thursday. A few years ago when illness kept him from visiting Main Drug, his friends created a look-a-like dummy to occupy John’s stool at the counter. When John made his return to the drug store, there was Johnny D., still sitting at Lee’s favorite spot. Lee began visiting Main Drug to take breaks from his job at the Loomis Post office, just a few doors down Taylor Road. He first came to the area 1969 when he came to work at the Auburn post office, and later transferred to Loomis. He joined the Loomis Fire District as a volunteer, retiring as assistant fire chief after 25 years of service. During his years with the fire department, he was also “chief bottle washer and chicken plucker” for Lorenzo’s restaurant. Son Gary Lee started the Mexican restaurant in Loomis, then opened a Lorenzo’s in Roseville which he still operates and where his dad continued to help wherever he could. With his cheery disposition and white beard, John Lee made a perfect Santa Claus, aided in the characterization by Mrs. Santa Claus, his wife Mabel Lee. Another one of John’s habits was drawing caricatures of Main Drug regulars. He would deliver a new drawing almost every day, so it’s estimated there are hundreds of Lee’s sketches that featured the person as some type of animal. John Robert Lee was born May 10, 1923 and died May 3, 2009. In addition to his wife, Mabel, and sons Mike Lee and Gary Lee, he is also survived by son Dan Lee and daughter Utonna, as well as 10 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren