He used to say, “We’re born. We live. We die. And our chance at life is over. If we don’t enjoy our lives and help others do so while we’re here, why be born at all?” He demonstrated that the way to live life to the fullest is to make everything an adventure, a mystery trip, where you never know where you’re going; you just know you’re on your way. He taught others to live each day fully and with awe. He was this huge force in the life of everyone he met that says “Woohoo! Life! Yeah! Let’s make this REALLY count!”
His motto: ”When In doubt, try it out and see what you learn. If it doesn’t violate your values or hurt others, then do it. Trust your intuition and look for what draws you along your way. And follow that. That’s what leads to great memories.” It’s what he most loved to do and to share and help others do, too.
He had over 100 adventures in his life including going to a presidential inaugural ball & an ‘in-hog-ural ball’ (inaugurating a pig the night before in ankle-deep mud), finding his name on the Nixon White House enemies list in Congress’ impeachment notes, being shot at by would-be kidnappers in Argentina, and writing an ad that drew his greatest business success and another that attracted the love of his life to him.
As his friend, Brad Weeks, shared “Lee taught me to never settle for my failures, but more importantly, to celebrate my victories. We celebrated by freight train hopping, by hitching rides on private jets, and many other gallivanting, meandering, following-our-fancy magical times together, but the greatest adventures we shared were our heart-filling conversations. Lee was a uniquely self-made brilliant and inspiring man. He was one of the wisest and most compassionate spirits I have ever been blessed with knowing.”
Born in the steel town of Gary, Indiana where he worked alongside his father as a laborer in the steel mills, he spent ten years as a brand manager at Procter & Gamble and then as Director of New Enterprises at Gillette before retiring from business at 35 and getting a masters and doctorate in psychology.
He had gathered over 100 learnings from studying life’s successes in a consulting project he did for Harvard, which he passed on to his clients, readers, friends, and family in his 40 years as a SAGE (Self Actualization Growth Education) counselor. In the words of Bob Forbes, “Lee was a friend and mentor to my son, Miguel, and me for many years. He was thoughtful in his teachings and demanding in the work each of us performed. Through his own example of finding a better way by questioning and weighing alternative answers, we both grew as people in what we did, how we did it, and, ultimately, how we arrived at clarity of purpose. Always being aware of the people we love was critical to his coaching. In the last decade, Lee and I had a monthly phone talk that was a measure of what was happening in my life, and his wisdom was available for all issues, sharp and well thought out. Those conversations are now over, but only in the literal sense. His voice is forever a part of me, and I am grateful beyond words.”
For 40 years, he lived in a house he designed and built on 20 acres on a 200+ year old dirt road in a pine forest in New Hampshire with his three daughters, and counseled clients and wrote books (Dear Kids, New Directions for Men, and Magic Nuggets) along with his syndicated newspaper “Counselor’s Column”.
After living bi-coastally and with a terminal illness in recent years, he died peacefully with dignity of his own choice at his home on a mountaintop over the Pacific with the support of Santa Barbara hospices, and after a last dance with his wife Barbara, at his side.
He and Barbara went out dancing almost every week of their nearly 30 years of marriage & have taken each other on scores of mystery dates and trips where the other had no idea where they were going until they got there; like the time she took him for a gondola picnic ride on the Charles River in Boston and then dancing on the roof top at the Ritz.
He organized Sunset conversations where they invited a dozen friends to watch the sun go down over the ocean and talk about various topics including how to keep love alive and romance thriving through the years. He’s also criss-crossed on road trips all across the country from New England to California and back, never knowing where they were going each day or to sleep at night until they got there.
In addition to his loving wife Barbara, he leaves behind his daughters Lisabeth, Jessica and Tracy (Sferes), his blended family of “daughter” Christy Crivellaro, and “sons” Tod Alberto (wife Cathy), Scott, and Eric Crivellaro, along with ten grandchildren and two greatgrandchildren.
A Santa Barbara, CA Celebration of Life will be during the summer at a date and place to be determined. An East Coast Celebration of Life will be held in New England in early May at a place and time to be determined. Please contact his wife, Barbara for details.
To honor Lee, please consider donations to the VNA Health Hospice and Santa Barbara Hospice. A special thanks to Nurse Laura, Drs. Marston, Bordofsky, and J. Kupperman for all their wisdom, kindness and support.