Jean Aura Lee, age 97, passed away peacefully in Sonora in the early morning of
Oct. 10, 2017. She was born to Kenneth and Emma (Harvey) Udell on Aug. 29, 1920, in the City of San Francisco. She was the fourth born of five children, Kenneth Jr., Avis, Harvey and Virginia. All have predeceased her. After her parents divorced, her mother married Fred Deiss. Their marriage produced two children, Fredrick Jr. and Joy.
Jean’s family struggled during the Great Depression. The children helped support the family by working. She began working in the fields when around 6 or 7 years of age, as did her siblings. In her teenage years she was a waitress, harvested hops, clerked in stores, and was a nanny, etc.
Jean graduated Escalon High School and, in 1940, married her school sweetheart, Elmer Reece. Children Pamela and Randy followed. They moved their dairy from Oakdale to Jamestown in 1946.
In 1947, Jean married Arthur Pardina. They had two sons, Stephen and Lester. For 30 years they owned and operated the 49er Club and then the Banshee Bar in Jamestown. Concurrently, Jean’s commercial ventures also were selling antiques, teaching ceramics and creating miniature dolls. Her other lifetime artistic interests included painting and drawing.
By the 1980s, she and her doll business had moved to Columbia. She married Marvin “Lee” Lee who joined her in her business. Lee perfected the skill of mold making. Jean would create the dolls, make their clothes and then use them as samples of her work. Lee would make hundreds of molds of her dolls, which were sold all over the U.S. They were together for over 30 years.
Sadly, in 2014, Jean lost both her daughter and husband. She kept active and remained in her home until her death.
Jean is survived by her half-brother, Dr. Frederick Deiss; half-sister, Joy Castle; three sons, Randy Reece (Lynn), Stephen Pardina (Renae), Lester Pardina (Lynda); son-in-law, Gerald Fields (Connie); stepdaughter, Nancy Callahan; stepson, Michael Lee (Christina); 14 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Marvin Lee; daughter, Pamela Fields; and great-granddaughter, Ashley Wood.
Graveside services will be held at 1 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Jamestown Cemetery.