Lee Rahfeldt died of pancreatic cancer in Seattle, WA on Oct. 27, 2013 at age 83. Lee was born on Feb. 6, 1930 in Zearing, IA to Seba Brookman and Fred Rahfeldt. The youngest of seven children, Lee spent his early years on the farm. His life-long love of photography began at the age of seven when he received a camera as a gift. He loved taking pictures of his family and developed his own film in the basement.
Lee served briefly in the Air Force and then studied music at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. He graduated in 1954 and taught music in Clarksville, IA and Mt. Edgecombe, AK. While in Alaska, he traveled to different villages chronicling the lives of the native Alaskans through photos and film. He was adopted into the Tlingit tribe for his work and accompanied them on fishing and reindeer excursions. He later moved to Seattle for graduate studies in ethnomusicology at the University of Washington.
Lee opened a photographic studio, Tele-Photo Video Arts, and married Ann Marie Cline (they later divorced). They had two daughters, Karen and Kristina. His favorite place to be with the family was on his boat, fishing, in the Straights of Juan de Fuca. In the early 1980s, Lee developed a love of technology and added a second component to his business called Mind Mine, selling Atari computers and software. He boldly predicted that there would be a time when every household would own a home computer.
Lee returned to teaching music at the end of his career. He taught K-12 music at Neah Bay for five years and moved back to Seattle, WA upon retirement. In his later years Lee developed a love of acting, writing poetry, and composing music. He enjoyed having coffee with friends, helping others with their computers, and discussing politics and poetry. Most of all, he was proud of his daughters, his grandchildren, his students, and his numerous nieces and nephews – all of whom groaned lovingly at his quick and quirky sense of humor and plays on words.
Lee was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers and sisters: Albert, Frank, Frannie, Florence, Helen, and Marguerite. He is survived by two daughters, Karen (Mark) Mortensen of Vienna, VA and Kristina (Jonathan) Jensen of Iron River, WI; two grandchildren, Samuel and Sophia; and numerous nieces and nephews. A noon viewing and 1:00 pm funeral will be held on Friday, Nov. 1 at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in downtown Seattle followed by burial at Crown Hill Cemetery.
Memorials may be directed to the Bailey-Boushay House, either at their website under ‘Giving’: www.baileyboushay.org or mailed to them at:
Virginia Mason Foundation
1218 Terry Avenue
P.O. Box 1930 M.S. D1-MF
Seattle, WA 98111-9866