Harry R. Lee

Harry R. Lee

October 12, 1943 – November 24, 2021

VISITATION:  Friday, December 3rd from 11am to 12:00 noon at the West Center Chapel, followed by FUNERAL SERVICE at 12:00 noon.  Interment, Westlawn-Hillcrest.

To view a live broadcast of the Funeral Service, please go to www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Cast” button on the home page.



Harry R. Lee was born on October 12, 1943, the third of four children born to Leroy W. Lee (formerly Latowsky), M.D., and Dorothy P. Lee in Philadelphia, PA while his father completed his urology residency at Philadelphia General Hospital before returning to Omaha.

Harry was born deaf due to rubella. Harry graduated from Nebraska School for the Deaf in 1962 as salutatorian of his class before attending Gallaudet College in Washington, D.C. from which he graduated with a degree in mathematics. While in high school he played football and basketball and was named the school’s “outstanding trackman” by the Omaha Kiwanis Club. Harry set swimming records while attending Gallaudet College in the 100 and 200 yard backstroke and the backstroke in the medley relay and was a member of the Gallaudet College varsity swimming team when it won a bronze medal for the United States during the Tenth Annual World Games for the Deaf in 1965.

After college graduation, Harry returned to Omaha and worked as a computer programmer for United of Omaha, an affiliate of Mutual of Omaha, for two years before returning to Washington, D.C., where he worked at the Pentagon in intelligence for about nine years. While on a trip overseas with other members of the deaf community, Harry met his wife to be who provided her address to Harry which began a letter writing romance leading to marriage. Harry proposed to Cheryl in a restaurant overlooking the Potomac River but had trouble getting Cheryl, who is also hearing impaired, to see the jewelry box which contained the engagement ring. As the proposal unfolded, a bottle of champagne arrived at the table from another patron in the restaurant who witnessed the proposal unfolding, Donald H. Rumsfeld, then secretary of defense under president Gerald Ford.

Harry R. Lee and Cheryl S. (Sindlinger) Lee were married on June 4, 1977 at Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania. Harry and Cheryl returned to Nebraska where Harry worked at Offutt Air Force Base for the Department of Defense as a computer specialist for 40 years until retirement.

Two children (both hearing) were born to Harry and Cheryl, Jeffrey T. Latowsky (formerly Lee) and Joni B. Lee.

Harry was preceded in death by his parents; his brother Roger Lee; his wife’s parents, Clyde Sindlinger and Helen “Joan” (Shaffer) Sindlinger Scully; and his wife’s half-brother, Tom Scully.

Harry is survived by his wife, Cheryl S. (Sindlinger) Lee; his son, Jeffrey T.  Latowsky, and wife, Jennifer, and their daughter, Violet; his daughter, Joni B. Lee, and her life partner, Dan Rotter, and their daughter, Adira; his sisters, Marcia (Cliff) Hollestelle and Marie (Bill) Johnson; and his sister-in-law, Joann Lee. Harry is also survived by his brother-in-law, Michael Scully; numerous nieces, nephews and extended family members; and many friends which include members of the Omaha deaf community and those who also attended Westside Baptist Church.

Harry lived life fully and loved to travel, particularly to attend conventions involving the deaf community or special events. Harry enjoyed playing cards (particularly poker), watching game shows and watching football. Harry supported deaf missions.

An article written about Harry after his participation in the Tenth Annual World Games for the Deaf in 1965, entitled Champion Athlete Finds Deafness No Hurdle noted Harry’s deafness had not interfered with his athletic  or scholastic achievements and quoted Harry as saying: “The thing that has always bothered me the most about my deafness is music – I can feel the vibrations, but I’ve never heard the music.” While Harry may not have heard the music, the song of Harry’s life resonates loudly for those who knew and loved him.



  • Willis & Jackie Mann Posted November 27, 2021 4:19 pm

    Sincere sympathies from two of Harry’s classmates in the Gallaudet Class of 1967. Harry will be missed

  • Patty Reitz Posted November 27, 2021 4:50 pm

    Prayers to all of you!! Harry was a great man and will be missed!

  • Cheryl Patrick Posted November 27, 2021 5:07 pm

    So very sorry on the loss if your faithful husband and father. Harry was a great friend and he will be greatly missed. Sending my prayers and love.

  • Mark R Gunderson Posted November 27, 2021 8:41 pm

    My condolences to the family of Harry Lee.
    I had good memories of him in the early 70’s along with deaf friends in Omaha-Council Bluffs..
    Wishing hus soul an entire rest

  • John schumacher Posted November 27, 2021 8:58 pm

    Thank you Harry for being my friend and supporting me when I taught Deaf Bible Study at the Mall . I will miss your positive thinking and problem solving. I will miss you but I will see you in Heaven. grace and Peace, john schumacher

  • Pete and Debie Seiler Posted November 27, 2021 9:05 pm

    We are sorry to see Harry’s passing. But we are comforted knowing he is with our Lord. Harry was a wonderful person and our friend. We will miss him

  • William Baim Posted November 27, 2021 9:06 pm

    I first met Harry in Chicago train depot in August 1962 on the way to Gallaudet College. We often disagreed with each other on many topics, but we respected each other. He was in my frosh Trigonometry class, and he was good in mathematics. Harry was a good man in his heart. I wish to express my condolence to Harry’s family, and I pray for their strength to endure their life. Again, God bless them.

  • Herbert Mapes Posted November 28, 2021 8:06 am

    I Condolences from one of Harry’s mathematics classmates at Gallaudet. Rest in Peace.

  • Susan Barron Posted November 28, 2021 9:26 am

    To Cousins Cheryl, Jeffrey, and Joni, we got the message from Gladys on Thanksgiving about Harry’s passing. We’re all so very sorry for the loss of Harry. He was a wonderful man and will be greatly missed. You’ve written a lovely memorial to him, and we’re sorry to miss the service. All our thoughts and love are with you all right now. Xox Your MD cousins Susan and Cindy (and Aunt Phyllis)

  • Judy (Sindlinger) and David Bickford Posted November 28, 2021 2:03 pm

    Cheryl, Jeff, and Joni so sorry that we will not be able to join you on Friday to celebrate Harry’s life. He was such a sweet guy and I know that he will be greatly missed.

  • Donalda Ammons Posted November 29, 2021 2:12 pm

    Sending deepest condolences to the family of Harry Lee. I had the opportunity to know him when I was practicing at Gallaudet pool as a teenager he was always courteous and friendly.

  • Betty Lewis Posted November 30, 2021 4:41 pm

    So sorry to hear of Harry’s passing…remember sports with Joni and Stephanie…Sympathies to your family. Jack and Betty Lewis

  • Richard/LaVerne McCowin Posted November 30, 2021 5:46 pm

    Our condolences to the family of Harry Lee. Thank you, Harry, for being a great contributor to Deal Community in Nebraska and in the nation. Sure missed your storytelling and your number whiz. Again, Thank you.

  • Margie Propp Posted December 1, 2021 8:02 pm

    Harry was a close friend of our parents, George and Eleanor. Condolences from all of the Propp family.

  • Steven and Carol Manning Posted December 2, 2021 12:03 am

    Please know that your friends love you and your family and are here for the Lee family. We are so sorry, our hearts go out to you. We are going to miss Harry very much, it is always to remember him in our hearts and good friends. Harry was a very outgoing person in our Deaf community. We are praying for your family and you all. Thank you so much! .

  • Pat Stear Posted December 2, 2021 5:56 pm

    I loved reading about Harry’s life and wish to have had the opportunity to know such a fine mind. My condolences to his family!

  • Caroline McKee Posted December 3, 2021 12:20 pm

    Cheryl, I have enjoyed reading about your and Harry’s history and rich life. Wishing you peace and comfort. Carrie McKee

  • John Stepp Posted December 14, 2021 5:40 am

    The only small thing in common I have with Harry Lee was that he also attended briefly at my oral deaf school, St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf in University City (west of St. Louis) before I was born. I saw him at the alumni reunion and Harry came to me and say “Hi!”. I knew his sister Marcia very well that her husband Cliff worked for my dad at the university approximately about the same time when George Propp came from California. I did not know Marcia had a deaf brother until much later. That was Harry Lee I understood as the defining touch on Marcia and Cliff Hollestelle. My sympathy to the Hollestelle family.

  • Marlene Brooke Posted December 17, 2021 4:22 pm

    Harry and I were in Gallaudet prep class. He was always very nice and personable. We got to know each other years later when I returned to DC. My husband enjoyed chatting with Harry whenever/wherever we’d meet. Heartfelt condolences to the Lee family on the loss of a good man.

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