Suzanne McNeil Lee
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Ms. Suzanne McNeil Lee, 78, of Mount Holly, NC, passed away peacefully on Monday, December 5, 2022 after facing brain cancer with relentless bravery and positivity.
A celebration of the light and love she brought to her family will be held in the New Year (final plans still to be determined).
Suzanne was raised in Parrott, GA by her parents, Emma Fletcher McNeil and Henry Broadus McNeil. At a very young age, Suzanne was encouraged to learn to play the piano by her Grandmother, Susie Cook Fletcher, who was an accomplished vocalist and pianist. Suzanne's mother, Emma, also had a beautiful voice and could play anything on the ukulele. The family found much joy gathering for sing-alongs and church musical events. These strong musical influences shaped Suzanne and led to a life-long pursuit of perfecting her art.
Suzanne attended the University of Cincinnati College - Conservatory of Music where she obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Piano Performance. At the Conservatory, she met and eventually married her college sweetheart, Tommy Lee, and together they moved to the Washington, DC area. They had two children, Stephanie and Ryan, and raised them in Lorton/Mason Neck, VA. Throughout the late 1970s and 1980s, she was a much sought after musician, teaching piano lessons and performing in area venues. Though her marriage was short-lived, she successfully co-parented her children, choosing to keep their needs as her top priority.
Suzanne met Thomas Hamill in the early 1980s, and he quickly became a trusted partner and confidant until his passing in 2008. With his encouragement, she went back to school to study Computer Information Systems so that she could have a more stable career. She obtained an Associate's degree and spent the next 20 years in data processing and database administration in Washington, DC, Tallahassee, FL, and Frankfort, KY. She retired in 2010 and spent her free time practicing piano and performing music with local bands. She had a particular love for jazz and the differing styles of that musical genre.
Suzanne loved animals and was a mom to many dogs and cats throughout her lifetime, giving them exceptional lives. She also enjoyed playing music with her friends at jazz camps, growing her own food, playing for family sing-alongs, camping, watching TV mysteries, keeping up with friends and family on Facebook, and spending time with her children, their spouses, and her grandchildren. In her final months, Suzanne expressed to her daughter that her great hope was that her granddaughters grow up to be educated and independent women.
Suzanne is survived by her daughter, Stephanie Suzanne Lee and husband, Bill Burgess, of Concord, NC; son, Ryan Thomas Lee and wife, Tamara, and their children, Liza Brooklyn Lee and Adelaide Hannah Lee of Lake Dallas, TX; brother, Donald Fletcher McNeil and wife, Mary; Uncle "Bill" (William Henry Fletcher), first cousins Georganne Honeycutt (Ken), Laurie Fletcher (Gerry Wood), Steve Alston (Jan), Gayle Alston, step-granddaughter Shatra Hanson (Dylan) and many other cousins, nieces, and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Broadus and Emma McNeil; partner, Thomas Hamill; first cousin, Lee Bass (Anne); and so many beloved aunts and uncles, including Harold, Marion, Marilynn, and Mary Sue.
In lieu of flowers, the family would be grateful for donations in her memory to the Animal Adoption League, Best Friends, or a brain cancer research organization of your choice.