William R. Lee Obituary

It is with sadness we announce the death of Dr. William R. Lee.

William R. Lee was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, to Mabel and Roscoe Lee died Tuesday, April 30, 2019, at age 89 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Married to his beloved wife Catherine H. Lee for 66 years, they lived in Baton Rouge for 50 years.  He was a professor in Biological Sciences at LSU where he taught genetics for 33 years, and employed many students on his grants to do research in numerous areas of genetics. Respected by his students, a postdoctoral student of Bill’s established the Dr. William R. Lee Professorship in Genetics through the LSU Foundation. 

Bill established the Institute of Mutagenesis to draw together the expertise of scientists in various departments for creative research proposals that were awarded competitive grants from the National Institutes of Health, Department of Energy, and Environmental Protection Agency. In 1996, he received the international award of the year in “recognition of his sustained research on the genetic effects on environmental mutagens in Drosophila” by the Environmental Mutagen Society.  He presented his research to international conferences across the globe.

Before coming to LSU, he taught at the University of New Hampshire and the University of Texas in Austin TX.  Upon retirement from LSU, he had taught a total of forty-five years. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Arkansas and a Masters and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI. 

He was a devoted husband and father. He deeply loved his wife. He is survived by three children: Susan L. Robison (married to Vaughn Robison), Laurie L. Fricke (married to John Fricke) and David W. Lee (married to Barbara Lee).  He is also survived by 8 grandchildren, 5 great grandchildren, and 2 more great grandchildren on the way.  Bill loved taking his family on trips around the world. He enjoyed horseback riding with his wife and children. 

Bill loved the Lord Jesus and was devoted to serving in Baptist churches in Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Indiana, and Texas and at University Baptist Church in Baton Rouge.  He was a deacon, trustee, and he taught Sunday School for 45 years. Bill will be deeply missed.

In memorial, donations can be given to the Dr. William R. Lee Professorship in Genetics:

Direct Giving Link:

URL: lsufoundation.org/williamlee leads to our Tributes page and Dr. Lee's fund prepopulated.


Gift of Check:

Gifts through check should be made out to the LSU Foundation.  In the memo line, please write: "Lee Prof in Genetics.”  They should be mailed directly to: 

LSU Foundation
ATTN: Gift Processing
3796 Nicholson Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70802 

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