Our Darlin’ Mother and Nanny, Grace LaRee Lee Overland, passed away serenely, with her tender children gathered at her side in the wee morning hours of April 6, 2017 in St. George, Utah. Our ‘Ree’ faced pancreatic cancer with a fierce defiance, deciding early on she would not submit quietly. She continued to live a life chock-full of laughter and loveliness, valiantly rising to the fight up to the very end, visiting loved ones, relishing family, and even driving her little red car triumphantly through the St. George Gorge to be with people she loved just hours before the battle was declared. She scattered endless handfuls of sunshine, leaving smiles and light every step of her way.
Ree was the vibrant, firecracker second daughter born to her devoted parents, Lester Dean Lee and Neva Joy Allan Lee on August 21, 1946 in Payson, Utah. She lived her early years with her family in Springville, Utah, and later moved with them to the idyllic little town of Salem, Utah, her much loved hometown where she found, and kept in her heart, many life-long friends. She loved her girlfriends, and often spoke of them fondly, memories of their marvelous adventures over the years finding their way into her laughter.
LaRee graduated from Virgin Valley High school in the spring of 1964. Her family moved to Mesquite, Nevada in the fall of her senior year, and even without the advantage of years together, she made fast and loyal friends. She often spent time with ‘the gang’ from Mesquite and had planned yet another get-together with them later next week. She loved you well.
After high school, Ree enrolled in and graduated from the Excelsior Beauty School in Salt Lake City, Utah. She roomed with her sister, Linda, during those years, where the two of them became best friends and grew even closer as sisters. She loved her time there, and created precious memories which sustained her always.
LaRee was a member of the LDS faith and honorably and gladly gave 18 months of her life as a young missionary in the Texas North Mission. She served, as well, in many different capacities and callings, including positions in Ward and Stake Primaries, the Young Women’s Program, and the Relief Society. She also wrote and acted in many brilliant Roadshow productions, danced at youth conferences, and used the extraordinary gift of her angelic voice to sing solo or in a duet with her dear mother whenever requested, using her talent to uplift and often comfort others. A song was never far from her lips.
Over the course of her years she created many deep and abiding friendships. People were drawn to her brightness and her arms were always open. Frequently her children’s friends found their way into her big heart and there they stayed. She loved Kym Shimmin and Emily Gansereit as if they were her own children.
LaRee and her family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the kind and helpful, generous and gentle people who reached out to her, seeing her need in the difficult last few months, especially Jeanie Kluse, who always seemed to know how to comfort and sustain Ree when it was most needed; Sharon Blad, whose devotion and gentle ways brought unmeasured comfort to our darlin’ Ree Ree; to Jackie Rhinehart, who worked unfailingly to provide help and relief to Ree, tackling the horrendous amounts of red-tape right to the floor when she had to. We can never express to you wonderful people just what your kindness has meant to all of us. Thank you for bearing a large part of the burden and allowing LaRee’s life to be lived to the fullest for as long as possible.
We would also like to thank the compassionate, caring people who extended medical care to Ree; her dedicated Doctors, nurses and staff at Dixie Regional Hospital, and the caring and kind folks from Dixie Home Rehab and Hospice. A heartfelt thank you, as well, to Dr. Corey Wilhelmsen and his staff at Core Chiropractic.
And last, we can never really tell the wonderful people of Kanosh how truly dear they are to us and how much they meant to our beautiful mother. Thank you for caring for her little red cottage. Thank you for keeping it safe and clean for her and allowing her to rest without fear while she was away, knowing it was being taken care of by hearts and hands she trusted. Thank you for your many acts of compassion, for your generous hearts and for your outstretched arms. LaRee loved you dearly, as do we.
Surviving their mother is: Amy Lee Anderson (Jerry), Sara Joy Utley (Jamie), Bethany Ruth Green (Terry), and Joshua Tyler Overland and his sweetheart, Kristyn Mary Macey. She loved her children with a profound, unshakable love, and was concerned for their welfare and happiness with every fiber of her being. She will always walk beside you, elbows linked, unconditional love in her countenance. “Be happy, be kind, and love each other with all your hearts.” You are her everything.
She is also survived by fourteen gorgeous and thoroughly adored grandchildren, her noble and steadfast ninety-four year old father, Lester Dean Lee (Heber, Utah), brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, and countless dear family members who thought the sun must rise and shine within the curve of her smile.
She was preceded in death by her loved husband, Glenn Ivar Overland, her beautiful and devoted mother, Neva Joy Lee, and her cherished sisters Linda Gay Francis and Robyn LaDean Erickson.
Her funeral services will be held on Thursday, April 13, 2017, at 11:00 am in the Kanosh Ward Chapel (25 S. Main St. Kanosh, UT). Viewings will be held on Wednesday, April 12, from 6-8 pm at the Olpin Stevens Funeral Home (55 W 200 S, Fillmore, UT) and from 9-10:30 am prior to the funeral services at the Kanosh chapel. LaRee will be interred in the Salem City Cemetery beside her beloved sisters and mother. Online condolences can be offered at www.olpinstevensfuneralhome.com.