Jean Emily Lee
The pioneering matriarch of our family at Hat Ranch gained her angels wings and flew to heaven on March 3, 2022. She was surrounded by family and in peace at her home in Alamogordo, NM.
Born Jean Emily Althaus in Fort Bayard, NM on April 9, 1929 to Mrs. Emily Joughin and Harry John Althaus Sr. Jean was one of four children of this couple attending school at Fort Bayard, NM until 8th grade graduation. She attended high school in Silver City, NM and then obtained a bachelor’s degree in physical education at Western New Mexico University. While attending college Jean participated as a cheerleader and on the women’s baseball team. From an early age she helped her father maintain the golf course at Fort Bayard and learned to play golf.
While at college Jean married the love of her life, Charlie T. Lee. Upon graduation this couple moved to the family ranch in the Sacramento Mountains. After the condemnation of the ranch in 1958 by McGregor Range the couple moved to where the present-day Hat Ranch is located. Jean and Charlie had one daughter, Linda J. Lee and a son, Don L. (Bebo) Lee. Jean began homeschooling Linda for one year when she was instructed by the New Mexico Secretary of Education to “do like the other country women and move to town for your children’s education”. This was written in a letter Jean still has. Jean did in fact come to Alamogordo with her children where she was active in Sierra Elementary PTA, Girl Scouts of America, and Alamogordo 4H. Jean still maintained the books for Hat Ranch and went to the ranch every weekend and school break.
Jean became a founding member of the Otero Cowbelles in 1972 an advocate group for beef. During this endeavor she was also a lifetime member and officer of various positions in the state-based New Mexico Cowbelles and nationally in American National Cattle Women. In addition Jean served as a secretary to Senator Charlie Lee during the years 1981-1984 in Santa Fe when secretaries were not provided to the legislators. Jean served as governor appointed Board of Regents for the New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired from 1978-1998. In 1993 Jean received the New Mexico Cowbelle of the Year award.
Jean is preceded in death by two brothers, Louis H. and Harry F. Althaus. Her husband Charlie of 54 years, one daughter Linda J. Lee and one granddaughter Heather R. Davis.
Jean is survived by her son, Bebo and his wife, Madalynn; her grandson, Colton Lee (Katelin Spradley) and granddaughter, Dalton and husband, Brian Lamczyk all of Alamogordo; grandson, Shawn and wife Nicole Williamson of Etiwanda, CA; granddaughters, Misty (Sean) Orr of Alamogordo and Amber (Wade) McClain of Tularosa; great grandchildren are Morgayne Smith, Kamrynne Davis and Kimberlee Orr of Alamogordo and Jordan Walker of Tularosa. Jean is also survived by one sister, MaryJane McDowell of Nixa, MO and two nieces, Jody (Ted) McMurry of Ozark, MO and Roxanne Althaus of Lubbock TX; a nephew, Brian (Deb) Althaus of Albuquerque, NM; as well as great nieces and nephews.
Jean was a caring and kindhearted person that treated everybody the same. The ethics that she lived by impressed on her children and grandchildren. She was always supporting and encouraging to all that she encountered. If you knew her "quiet" voice, you knew the beautiful blue eyes and a smile that would melt your heart were soon to follow. Her next question might even be, "When are we going back to the ranch?" Here's Mrs. Big John signing off.
We would like to give a special thanks to the caregivers for treating “grandma” like part of their family always throughout the years. We also would like to thank Kara and the team at Encompass Home Health in Ruidoso for an excellent job and their support.
Services and visitation will be at Scenic Chapel located at 1334 N. Scenic Drive Alamogordo, NM. Funeral will be Friday, March 18, 2022 at 2pm with interment following at Monte Vista Cemetery. Visitation will be held Thursday March 17, 2022 from 5-7pm.
Pallbearers are Colton Lee, Brian Lamczyk, Brandon Althaus, Kamrynne Davis, Jordan Walker and Wade McClain. Honorary pallbearers are Sean Orr, Harold O’Dell and Zeke Castro
The Lee family has entrusted their loved one to the care of Scenic Chapel to direct the funeral services.
To sign the online register book, please visit https://www.scenicchapel.com/.
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