Warren “Lee” Kolb died peacefully of pneumonia on December 14, 2017. He was 81. Son of Martha Florence (Litwin) and Albert Nicholas Kolb, Lee grew up in Spokane and frequently visited family in Montana, which is where he developed his love of the outdoors and a passion for hunting, fishing and wood working. Lee graduated from Gonzaga Preparatory School in 1953, and entered Gonzaga University under the ROTC program, summiting Mount Rainier as part of his early military training. After graduating from the university in 1959, Lee was commissioned into the U.S. Army as a Second Lieutenant and was trained as a tank commander at the Armor School at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Lee was later stationed at Fort Ord in California before being honorably discharged as a First Lieutenant in 1968. Lee and his wife of 59 years, Stella Annette Barich, were married at St. Aloysius Church in 1958. Lee and Stella had three daughters, Katie (Michael) Warner, Laurie (Damon) Taggart, and Annie (James) Kolb-Nelson. Lee was an active dad fondly remembered for building an ice skating rink in the back yard every winter and countless sledding excursions at Mt. Spokane and Down River Golf Course. The family also spent many summer vacations swimming, boating and water skiing at Priest Lake in Idaho, one of Lee’s favorite places besides Hawaii. Lee was an amateur pilot who enjoyed flying Cessna aircraft, and a lifelong learner who returned to school to earn a Master’s Degree at UW Tacoma and took on a second career as a math teacher before retiring to Spokane in 2006.
Family was always the focal point of Lee’s life, and he relished the role of helper, mentor and friend. Lee is pre-deceased by his younger sister Trish, and leaves behind many family members including younger brother Don (Audrey); three grandsons, James, Nick, and Jake; great-grandson Kane; nephews Greg, Andrew, Michael and Caleb; nieces Amy and Callie; and numerous cousins. A memorial gathering and celebration of Lee’s life will take place on December 30, 11am, at Hennessey Valley Funeral Home & Crematory, which would have been his 82nd birthday. A reception will follow. Memorial donations honoring Lee can be made to the Good Samaritan Foundation in Spokane, the National Alzheimer’s Foundation, or the Humane Society of the United States.
Online condolences may be expressed at hennesseyvalley.com.