Remembrances of Bill Lee

Bill Lee

Bill Lee

Three friends and colleagues of Bill Lee pay tribute to their friend, who passed away on July 30. Visitation for Lee will take place on Friday, Aug. 12, from 4 to 7 p.m. The funeral will take place on Saturday, Aug. 13, at 11 a.m. Both will be held at Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 1125 Franklin St., Downers Grove IL 60515.

Generous and kind
I am lucky to have known Bill for almost 20 years. In that time we worked together, played softball together and talked about a lot of topics over beers at the Users Center.

Bill was a unique person who was liked and respected by everyone he encountered. His intellect was matched only by his work ethic and generosity. He was a wonderful husband and father who cared deeply for people.

Mary and I were fortunate to celebrate New Year’s Eve at his house many times over the years. We’d shuck fresh oysters, uncork champagne and think happy thoughts about a bright future. Even this past year, well after Bill’s prognosis was understood, he and Malinda welcomed us into their home for great food and warm friendship. The mood was remarkably positive.

Bill and his family faced his disease head on. They dealt with the treatments, the sickness, and the pain by finding as much joy from life as possible. They traveled as a family and made happy memories during an otherwise unhappy time. He continued to work as much as possible and continued to pitch softball in between rounds of chemo. We should all be comforted knowing Bill was never alone and that he made the most of his time with us. He will be sincerely missed.

Marty Murphy


Dedicated to science
Bill Lee devoted most of his career to high-energy physics research. As a member of the Fermilab E866/NuSea collaboration, he investigated the nuclear dependence of J/ψ and ψ’ production for his Ph.D. thesis.

Bill joined the DZero collaboration in 2000. The DZero experiment was designed to explore the world’s highest-energy proton-antiproton collisions which were delivered by the Tevatron. Bill quickly assumed significant responsibilities for the successful, efficient and safe operation of the DZero detector. Bill’s contributions included serving as a detector operations expert, a manager of the data acquisition system and the online system coordinator. As online system coordinator, Bill ensured that the online computing systems were configured and maintained to collect and record high-quality physics data.

Bill served as a DZero run coordinator from 2005 through the end of Tevatron operation in 2011. As a run coordinator, Bill was responsible for the safe and efficient day-to-day operation of the entire DZero detector, including scheduling and optimization of operations activities and coordination with the Accelerator Division. To perform these key coordinator responsibilities, Bill was essentially always on call around the clock from 2005 through 2011. Data collected under Bill’s leadership were used for many discoveries and precision measurements of fundamental elementary particle properties.

Since 2013, Bill served as the underground areas coordinator, facilitating operations of the Fermilab underground experiments.

He also contributed to outreach activities, serving as a tour guide at DZero as well as for the Fermilab experiments’ underground area.

Bill served with impressive distinction, dedication and energy, handling these numerous and varied key demanding responsibilities with exceptional skill and patience. The DZero collaboration benefited enormously from his high-level technical expertise, sound judgment, organization and pedagogical skills, patience and experience.

It was a great pleasure and privilege to work with Bill over the past decade and a half.

George Ginther


Willingness to help and ready wit
Bill was our colleague and officemate in the Neutrino Division Operations Support Group. We all will miss his willingness to help, his ready wit, and commitment to safety and operational readiness as the underground areas coordinator and experiment liaison for NOvA. Our deepest sympathies go out to his wife Malinda and his family.

Personally, I first met Bill in 2000 when he started working at DZero while I was in the rotation as a CDF operations manager. When he became run coordinator, I thought he was doing a great job, having some idea of how taxing the position could be. In recent years in our office, we would have wide-ranging conversations which mixed safety and scheduling concerns with discussion of our families and many other subjects. I miss Bill terribly.

Steve Hahn