Della H. Lee

Della H. Lee

Long-time Bellevue, NE resident, Della Hester Lee, 92, passed away peacefully on Saturday, June 11, 2022, with her husband and children by her side. While her death is heartbreaking to her family and friends, she will long be remembered for the loving way she lived and treated everyone she encountered.

Della was born on November 3, 1929, in Hayden City, Colorado, the daughter of John White Hester and Thelma Fanny (Fowler) Hester. She was raised in Evansville, Indiana. Growing up during the Great Depression, Della’s family struggled with poverty. These early life experiences helped form her great generosity and a servant’s heart in Della. She graduated in 1948 from Evansville Central High, becoming the first in her family to graduate from high school. Della went on to Nursing School, a profession which was an excellent fit with her caring personality. Della joined the U.S. Air Force and was stationed at Eglin AFB in Ft. Walton Beach, FL, where she met and began her life’s adventure with her loving husband, Jack G. Lee, Jr.

Della and Jack were married December 28, 1957, at First Baptist Church in Evansville, Indiana. In the past, women were not allowed to continue serving in the military after marriage, so Della transferred to the Reserves and ended her service at the rank of Captain. She continued alongside her husband during his 22 years of honorable service in the U.S. Air Force, living in Florida, Colorado, Germany, and their final assignments to Offutt AFB in Bellevue, NE. On many occasions, Della served as both mother and father to her children while Jack was deployed. After Jack’s retirement from the Air Force in 1975, they decided to put down deep roots in Nebraska, and have lived in Bellevue for 55 years.

During Jack’s deployment to Vietnam in 1969-70, Della remained in Bellevue and earned her Master’s Degree in Guidance Counseling, which she put to work in various counseling roles, none more important than creating specific “care plans” for each of her children. Della was a natural leader, who served as President of the Officer’s Wives Club and American Business Women’s Association, on her Church Vestry in various roles, and as Youth and Vacation Bible School leader at church. Della also received an Environment Champion award from Green Bellevue and was a member of the Bellevue Chapter of Altrusa International.

 Della never stopped nursing, and seeing a need, she developed and led a program for high school students to become Certified Nurses Aides. While working at a local elder care facility, Della organized Belle of Brownville river boat rides for the residents, to bring a sense of fun and adventure to the elderly.

Della loved to travel, packing up the family car and driving all over the country for adventures and visits with family and friends. Della loved to sing and considered music a gift to be shared while traveling, singing in the church choir and with the Sweet Adeline’s and Offutt Aires. To the very end of her life, Della continued to sing music of all kinds and especially beloved old hymns. Della loved hard work, cleaning, repairing, and painting homes, moving furniture, and gardening, for her own home, her various rental properties and extending her handy skills to those in need. Always smiling and encouraging her children to be silly, Della had a sharp wit and loved a good laugh.

Best of all, Della had a lifelong faith in Jesus, which began at the age of four. Throughout her life, Della knew the Lord’s hand on her mind and heart, guiding her, giving her wisdom, equipping her with everything she needed, and giving her the desire to share Jesus’ love with others.

Survived by her beloved husband Jack Jr., they were nearing 65 years of marriage at the time of her passing. Della is also survived by six loving children: Jack G. (Angie) Lee, III of Cedarburg, WI, William G. Lee II, Ruth Lee (Robert) Richter, and Jennifer Lee (Brian) Wilson, all of Bellevue, NE, Mary Lee (Michael) Reavis of Papillion, NE, and Joseph (Alicia) Estrada of Sloatsburg, NY; 17 grandchildren: William G. Lee III, Joseph (Jessica) Lee, Nicole Koster, Jamie Wood, Zachary (Tori) Reavis, Jack G. (Amber) Lee IV, Rachel Lee (Kyle) Kmiec, Reed (Becca) Reavis, Della Lee (Nic) Schnelker, Katie Lee, Grace Wilson, Iliana Estrada, Robert Richter, Emily Wilson, William Richter, Alexis Estrada, and Emily Estrada; and 13 great-grandchildren: Brandon, Joshua, Kyiia, Caleb, Eva, Quinn, Marcus, William IV, Myles, Sawyer, Beau, Jack V, and Mason. Della is further survived by nieces, nephews, and other family and friends.

In addition to her parents, Della was preceded in death by her ten brothers and sisters, Garnetta, Herman, Albert, Rosetta, Bill, Evelyn, Virgil, Ruth, John, and Carol (who died at birth).

The celebration of Della’s amazing life will be held on Monday, July 11, 2022, at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 113 North 18th Street, Omaha, NE, with visitation (including breakfast items) starting at 10:30 a.m. and the memorial service at 11:30 a.m., followed by inurnment with military honors by the Offutt Air Force Base Honor Guard at 2:00 p.m. at the Omaha National Cemetery, 14250 Schram Rd, Omaha, NE.

To view video of the service, click the link below:

https://boxcast.tv/view/della-h-lee-seryv0vdbt17z1gd9e62

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Della’s memory to support organizations dear to her heart including her life-long Episcopal parish, the Church of the Holy Spirit in Bellevue, NE, Green Bellevue, or Planned Parenthood.

8 Comments

  • Fr Robert W Scott Posted June 20, 2022 1:46 pm

    Much love. It was a privilege working with Della as her pastor at Holy Spirit parish. She always had so many caring creative ideas to do for Our Lord. Praying for Jack.

    • Jennifer Wilson Posted June 21, 2022 8:51 pm

      Thanks, Bob. She loved you dearly!

  • Mark and J Hughes Posted June 20, 2022 3:55 pm

    She was a force of nature!!
    Such an amazing woman!!
    She will be missed!!

  • Lynn Muller Posted June 20, 2022 6:09 pm

    Della was a very dear, sweet and caring woman, friend and Altrusa sister. She will forever leave an imprint on my life and heart. She will be missed. Rest In Peace.

    • Jennifer Wilson Posted June 21, 2022 8:52 pm

      Thanks so much, Lynn. You were dear to her.

  • Jacqueline Richter Posted June 20, 2022 7:11 pm

    I met Della over 20 years ago when her daughter,Ruth, married my son Bobby.. what an amazing lady how lucky I was to have had her in my life! What a blessing it was for my son to have such a wonderful mother-in-law that he loved.. My visits to Nebraska will never be the same without my dear friend Della💔. RIP🙏🏻

  • Jacqueline Richter Posted June 20, 2022 7:17 pm

    Della was quite an amazing woman and I am so blessed to have had her in my life…. Rest in peace my dear friend

  • Jacqueline Richter Posted June 20, 2022 7:18 pm

    An amazing testament for an amazing woman!💔

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