Father Gerard Lee, OFM
Father Gerard Lee, OFM

Father Gerard Lee, OFM, 78, a professed Franciscan friar for 53 years and a priest for 49 years, died on Feb. 28.

Father Lee was born July 1, 1941, in Albany, to Robert and Lena (née Balboni) and was baptized in Springfield, Mass. After graduating from Albany High School in 1959, Father Lee attended Siena College, graduating with a degree in biology. He studied at St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, before entering the Franciscan Order in 1965. He professed his first vows as a Franciscan at St. Raphael’s Novitiate in Lafayette, N.J., on July 15, 1966.

Father Lee professed his final vows on May 17, 1969, at Holy Name College in Washington, D.C. He earned a master’s degree in theology from Augustinian College in Washington, D.C., and was ordained to the priesthood on Jan. 9, 1971, at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington, D.C.

After ordination, Father Lee was assigned to Puerto Rico as a missionary for two years. From 1972-85, he was assigned to the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in New York City, and for the next two years he was stationed in New Jersey, working at two parishes — St. Anthony of Padua in Butler and St. Joseph in East Rutherford. In 1991, he was assigned to Albany, where he served as chaplain at Teresian House until 1998, when he moved to Boston.

Father Lee was stationed at St. Anthony Shrine from 1998-2000, when he returned to New York. He was based at Siena College and worked at St. Francis Chapel in Colonie for 18 years, 13 of them as director. He retired in 2018 to Butler, N.J.

Father Lee is survived by a nephew, Steve Lee of Palos Hills, Ill. A Mass of Christian Burial was held on March 3 at St. Mary of the Angels Chapel at Siena College, with the burial at St. Agnes Cemetery in Menands. Memorial donations can be made to Franciscan Friars — Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd St., New York, N.Y. 10001-3202.