Lee Ketchum, 94, of Lenox died Tuesday, May 14, 2019, at Berkshire Medical Center after a brief illness. Born Sept. 7, 1924, in Long Beach, California, to the late Holly L. and Frances Ketchum, he attended Compton High School and was a 1942 graduate.
After high school, Lee joined the U.S. Navy and served during World War II as a submariner for six years. He was honorably discharged in 1949 with the rank of Torpedoman’s Mate 1st class.
Lee worked as a contract engineer for General Electric for 30 years until his retirement in 1986. After his retirement, Lee began a new business with his wife, Mary, called Hidden Gardens. They grew cut flowers for the wholesale markets in New York City, Boston and Albany.
Mr. Ketchum was most proud of his athletic abilities. He started at 10 bicycling many miles on his paper route, body surfing on the California coast and working at the first ice skating rink in the U.S. called Ice Land. One of his greatest accomplishments was winning the southern California high school cross country state championship in 1941. These activities laid the framework for his love of sports all through life. He was the former president for the Pittsfield Skating Club in the early 1960s; a member of the Elks Club in Latham, New York; and a member of the 80+ Ski Club. He enjoyed competitive tennis, was a runner, loved to ski and skate, and was an excellent swimmer.
Lee is survived by his children William Ketchum of Stockbridge, Susanne Chris (Stephen) of Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada, and Laura Walton (Craig) of Richmond; grandchildren Miles and Nel Ketchum and Hannah Walton; and great-grandson Otis. Besides his parents, Lee was predeceased by his son Robert E. Ketchum, grandson Seth, former wife Mary Scace Ketchum, second wife Jeanne Haskins Ketchum, and his brother Robert.
Calling hours for Lee Ketchum will be Friday, May 17, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Roche Funeral Home in Lenox followed by a service at 4 p.m. Burial will be private at a later date. To share memories and stories, visit rochefuneralhome.com.