Member since November 12, 1967
Marcella Lee was born and raised in Council Bluffs. She had “only one block to walk to Bloomer Public School for Kindergarten through 9th Grade.” She was an only child, whose mother contracted Tuberculosis before she reached her teens. Her mother was in a medical facility for a lengthy time, while Marcella and her father made their way in life. Unfortunately, when her mother returned home her father abandoned the family. Marcella was in High School by this time. So, she and her mother got to know each other all over again, becoming very close. While growing up she attended the First Baptist Church, across from Bayliss Park, in Council Bluffs. The Baptist minister there became her guardian, in her father’s absence.
Marcella graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School. She recalls spending a lot of time at the downtown YMCA for meals and activities. During the 1940’s she remembers that the “churches in the area were all very close.” Members of different denominations in the area were all friendly and familiar with each other. Everyone was within walking distance and everybody walked.
In November, 1950 she and Bruce Lee were married at the First Baptist Church. Bruce grew up in a large family near Onawa, Iowa. Marcella remembers wanting to have the “Ave Maria” sung at their wedding. This was not allowed in her church, although, at her request, the minister agreed to the melody being played on the organ. The words could not be sung during the ceremony. Music has always been a “very important part” of the worship service for Marcella and her husband.
Following their marriage Marcella’s mother died at age forty-three. Bruce was working at Northern Natural Gas in Omaha at the time. He had many co-workers who were practicing Roman Catholics. Bruce began to look for answers to his questions and sought out the priest at St. Francis in Council Bluffs. Marcella was working at GE in Omaha, which was located across the street from Holy Family Catholic Church. Following a great deal of prayer and discussion Marcella and Bruce were both drawn to the Catholic faith by “the traditions” and became converts in 1953. They were “taken in at Holy Family.”
During their early marriage, they were very involved in the CFM (Catholic Family Movement). The couple had two children, a daughter Catherine Rose and a son Randall, six and a half years later. Randall lives in Florida and has blessed them with four grandchildren; two boys and two girls. On their way down to Florida to visit they have a regularly scheduled stop at the national shrine, Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Illinois. They find meditation and prayer in a peaceful setting. They also stop at EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) and the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament near Birmingham, Alabama. EWTN, a global Catholic network, provides a spiritual oasis for the faithful, a place of prayer and learning. The Shrine was founded by Mother Angelica, and dedicated to the Divine Child Jesus, as a refuge for all. Marcella commented that the shrine is “so beautiful and reverential.” They wouldn’t pass by without stopping at these two very special holy sites to worship and be refreshed.
The Lees became members of Queen of Apostles when the church was built. Their second year at Queen of Apostles, Marcella’s dear friend Irene talked her into being president of the Altar and Rosary Society. Irene told her it was “EASY.” Marcella said they had “so much fun and accomplished a lot of fundraising. They were all really enthusiastic!”
Marcella joined our CDA court on November 12, 1967. She remembers being part of a “large group of about twenty new members who joined at the same time.” She recalls a fundraiser Fashion Show at the Chieftain Hotel ballroom that the court put on. She said they were “all very much dressed up” with “sharp hats” and all. Marcella served as Treasurer of court at that time.
Bruce’s work moved them to Cedar Falls/Waterloo, Iowa and Columbus, Ohio between 1967 and 2000. But Marcella remained an active member of our court throughout the years. She was “always a member and always on a committee.” The couple were members of the Serra Club of Council Bluffs. and changed the religious bulletin board at St. Albert school for four years. She also puts up posters for EWTN at church.
In June of 2012 Marcella and Bruce will both celebrate their 80th birthdays. Then in November they will observe the 62nd anniversary of their wedding day. What a remarkable year this will be for them and for their family! Marcella currently serves our Catholic Daughters Court as the Spiritual Enhancement Chair. She asks for and provides prayers for the court at each meeting and for those members who are ill or have passed away. She inspires us to be more prayerful and devoted to our Lord. Today we offer a prayer for you Marcella. God bless you and keep you in His care. We thank you Marcella, for your leadership and longtime service to our Court St. Anthony of Council Bluffs; your hometown.
My heart is steadfast, God, my heart is steadfast. I will sing and chant praise. Psalm 57:8