Maryland Community News
Published: Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mimi Lee, wife of former governor, dies
Kristi Tousignant
Staff Writer

Mimi Lee, wife of former Maryland Gov. Blair Lee III, died Tuesday.

Lee, 91, died of congestive heart failure at Laurel Regional Hospital.

A longtime Silver Spring resident, Lee was an avid outdoor enthusiast, Girl Scout leader, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

Her husband, Blair Lee III, served as acting governor from 1977 to 1979 after Gov. Marvin Mandel (D) was convicted of corruption.

Lee did not move to Annapolis while her husband served as governor. She stayed at the family’s home in Silver Spring, where she was a Girl Scout leader and swim instructor in the community.

“She touched so many lives,” said her son, Blair Lee IV, who is a columnist for The Gazette of Politics and Business. “If just half the people she taught how to swim show up to the funeral service, the church will be full.”

Lee remembers his mother as a woman of no social pretensions or political convictions. She did not even own jewelry, Lee said.

Mimi Lee also built furniture for her children’s rooms, and, for her husband, she would make crossword puzzles, because solving them was one of his favorite pastimes.

“She was by far the most unpretentious person I’ve ever met in my life,” Blair Lee said. “Everyone says their mother is unique, but mine really was.”

Mimi Lee was born May 1, 1920, in Washington, D.C., to an American diplomat father and French mother. She attended Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, where she earned a chemistry degree. She married Blair Lee III in 1944.

In her later years, Lee stayed driven and active. She set swimming records in the Senior Olympics and climbed the French Pyrenees at 70.

“She was fiercely independent,” Blair Lee said. “She taught us to never, ever, ever give up. She was very single-minded.”

Lee is survived by her sister, Mary Elizabeth d’Harcourt, and seven children, Blair Lee IV, Joseph W. Lee, Christopher G. Lee, Erica B. Lee, Philip L. Lee, John F. Lee and Jenny Sataloff. She also is survived by 19 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Her death follows her husband’s in 1985 and a son, Pierre B. Lee’s, in 1973.

A memorial service will take place at 11 a.m. Monday at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 12319 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring.

Contributions may be made to the National Capital Girl Scouts at GSCNC, 4301 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite M2, Washington, D.C., 20008, Attention: Fund Development; online at; or to the Boal Mansion Museum, P.O. Box 116, Boalsburg, PA 16827.

© 2011 Post-Newsweek Media, Inc./Gazette.Net