Margaret Belsley Lee
Surrounded by her loving family, Margie completed this part of life on Saturday, November 2. Margie was a shining star, a beautiful woman with a brilliant smile who lived a life of love, friendship, kindness, and strength. She was a devoted wife, loving mother, dedicated grandmother, and beloved sister. Margie had an easy grace making friends, whom she then cherished for her lifetime. She enjoyed following the stock market and politics. She had a quiet but firm faith that sustained her through life’s troubles and gave her incredible bravery during her final illness.
Margie was born in Peoria, Illinois, to Dr. Joseph and Imogene Belsley on November 20, 1939. She graduated in 1957 from Peoria Central High School and in 1961 from the University of Illinois where she was a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority. On August 26, 1961, in Peoria, she married her lifelong love, Jack Lee. During their fifty-eight years together, Margie and Jack lived in Champaign-Urbana (Illinois), Chicago, St. Louis, Peoria, and Sanibel. Each time she and Jack settled in a new place, Margie worked to contribute to her community. In her hometown of Peoria, she volunteered for the Peoria Symphony Guild Puppet Theater, Methodist Medical Center Auxiliary, and Easter Seals Auxiliary. On Sanibel where she lived the last thirty years of her life, she was a docent at the Sanibel Historical Museum, and active in PEO, the Shell Islands Garden Club, and the James E. Hendry Chapter of the American Hibiscus Society. At the Sanibel United Church of Christ, she held many positions including member of the Endowment Committee, chair of the Activities Committee, and Board Trustee.
Friendship defined Margie’s life. Her smile lit up a room. She was always interested in other peoples’ lives and families, joys and sorrows. She was never self-centered. Margie could find the good in a person and always lived with kindness. Margie was the queen of birthday cards, never forgetting a friend’s birthday. For many years she enjoyed her friendships over a bridge table and recently over a mahjong game.
Margie’s beautiful personality was reflected in her lovely home. Whether for her Sanibel friends or family and friends visiting the island, Margie loved to entertain. She was famous for her delicious key lime pie. Dinner guests at her home raved about her special frozen dessert, officially known as pink stuff. There was no better tour guide than Margie when family and friends visited the island.
Growing up in the warm arms of a close family, Margie and Jack centered their lives on their daughters and later their grandchildren. She was thrilled to support their basketball, lacrosse, competitive dancing, and tennis. Grandchildren and great nephews and nieces all learned to drive their boat. The annual Belsley family reunion in Minocqua, Wisconsin, cemented ties with her loving, extended family. After vacationing in Maine, Margie and Jack recruited their daughters’ and her sisters’ families to join them on their annual visits.
Margie is survived by her husband, Jack; daughters Debbie (Reid) Woods of Wheaton, Illinois and Mitzi (Doug) Ecklund of Des Moines, Iowa; grandchildren Jack Woods, Elly Woods, Natalie Ecklund, and Will Ecklund; sisters Jan Tuerk (Ed) and Kathy Belsley (Brian) of Peoria, Illinois. She was preceded in death by her parents.
A Celebration of Margie’s Life will be held at the Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ on Saturday, January 4, 2020 at 2:00 PM.
Memorial contributions in honor of Margie may be sent to: Moffitt Cancer Center Foundation, Attn: Mandy Donohue, MBC-Found, 12902 Magnolia Drive, Tampa, FL 33612. On the check, please add, Margaret B. Lee, Sarcoma Research. Online donations in Margie’s honor can also be made on the Moffitt website at https://bit.ly/2EGbup1 designating Sarcoma Research.