Charlotte Lee, 90

Teaching, administration and civic engagement

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Charlotte Elizabeth Outland Lee, 90, died on Oct. 12, 2020, at her home in Oak Park, surrounded by her family. One of 13 children, born to Ellis and Rosie Outland of Boligee, Alabama, on July 13, 1930, she grew up on the family farm, graduated with honors from Greene County Training School, and earned the following degrees: a B.S. in Chemistry and Mathematics (Knoxville College), an M.S. in Food Chemistry and Nutrition (Tuskegee Institute), and a PhD in Biochemistry (University of Kansas). She also published numerous research papers in scientific journals.

She became an assistant or associate Professor at the University of Kansas, Alabama A&M University, Nassau Community College (New York), Southern Illinois University and Triton College (Illinois), from which she retired in 1995 after serving several years as the Science Department chairperson.

An active member of Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Oak Park, for 41 years and a devout Christian, she was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the Society of Sigma Xi, Chi Sigma Honorary Biological Society, Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society, the American Association of University Professors, the American Chemical Society, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

In addition to being a full-time teacher and administrator, she was passionate about her involvement in civic, educational and church activities. She volunteered at school science clubs, judged school science fairs, served as a local election poll worker, and was a champion for local school bond issues.

In 1959, Charlotte married Ralph H. Lee, a fellow graduate student and PhD candidate in Chemistry. Their 61-year marriage produced four daughters, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. She drove her four daughters to music lessons, recitals, theater rehearsals, Girl Scout meetings and Sunday school. In spite of the many things that demanded time in her life, it was always important for her to be a very present and positive influence in her daughters' lives.

She loved to travel, had a vibrant personality and a clever sense of humor, was compassionate but stubborn when warranted, and was dearly, fully loved.

Charlotte is survived by her husband, Ralph; her four daughters, Krystal Stankowski (Denis), Karla Baldwin, Rachel Innis, and Rosalind Lee; her sister, Janie O. Huddleston; three brothers, Benjamin A. Outland (Doris), Wiley J. Outland (Cathy), and Thomas C. Outland (Dianne); five grandchildren, Evanne Johnson (John), Alexander Innis, Sydney Stankowski, Olivia Baldwin, and Stacey Stankowski; one great-granddaughter, Adrina Johnson; and a host of other relatives and friends.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in remembrance of Charlotte, to one or more of the following organizations: Tuskegee University (, the United Negro College Fund (, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (, and the Alzheimer's Association (

Access to her Zoom memorial service on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, may be obtained by request at

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