Loving. Faithful. Frugal. Caring. Charismatic. Passionate. Engaging. Inquisitive. Incomparable. Lee Charles Theodore, 92, of Murrieta, CA, passed away on Monday, June 29 in his son’s home in San Luis Obpispo, CA, surrounded by three generations of family members. He is a man whose warm, expressive joy; quiet, humble wisdom; and eventful life story cannot be easily captured in written word. Lee was born “Ilias” on March 7, 1928 to Greek immigrants Charles and Moscoula Theodore in Pontiac, Michigan. As a youth, Lee learned three languages (Greek, Turkish, and English), spent two years in a sanitarium recovering from the tuberculosis wave that claimed the lives of his mother and sister, and earned the rank of Eagle Scout by age 16. Lee earned his first degrees at Anderson College, where he also competed on the tennis team and performed lead roles in drama productions. He continued his love for education with post-graduate work at Wayne State University and Iliff School of Theology. Combining this love with growing passions for travel and missions, Lee taught and pastored his way around the world, before settling in Southern California upon meeting the woman who would become his wife. Lee and June Theodore raised three sons while Lee taught science at Horace Mann School in Beverly Hills, CA. Those 16 years included a one-year sabbatical where the young family travelled 6,000 miles throughout Europe. A move to Temecula, CA with Lee’s appointment as science and Bible instructor at Linfield Christian School followed by a 12-year tenure as adjunct professor of philosophy and psychology at Mt. San Jacinto College in Menifee, CA, sprinkled with a year of university-level instruction at St. Petersburg, Russia, comprised a 46-year career as an educator. A few years after June succumbed to cancer, Lee connected with Anderson College alum Barbara Clausen at a sing-along event on the campus, and love bloomed again as they were married in 2004. Barbara was a supportive partner for Lee’s continued passion for education, missions, and travel. At the age of 80, Lee made his sixth trip to Africa, where he and Barbara attended the dedication of the “L. C. Theodore School for Children,” in Kenya. Lee was generous with his laughter, even in reaction to jokes at his expense, like those regarding his propensity to promote Greek etmyologies of English words. He stayed trim despite a voracious appetite, loved Mediterranean cuisine and feta cheese. He may hold the record for most trips to a salad bar at a single meal. Lee is survived by his wife, Barbara, sons Peter and Christopher, grandchildren Cooper, Stephen, Joshua, Cole, Max, and Sophia. He was predeceased by his first wife June, eldest son Paul, and grandson Alexander. A viewing will be held at England Family Mortuary (27135 Madison Ave, Temecula, CA 92590 on Monday, July 7, from 9:00 am to 10:30 am, followed by a burial and brief graveside service at 11:00 at Temecula Public Cemetery. Due to regulations surrounding COVID-19, masks and social distancing will be required at the viewing, and graveside attendance is extremely limited. Please contact the Theodore family for availability and more information.

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  1. I agree completely with my husband. Lee was a godly elder brother to us since the day we met him. He encouraged me grately over the years with his encouraging phone calls and letters while we were in Thailand. June was also a great blessing and we look forward to meeting Barbara one day although we have talked to her on the phone. Heaven is all the sweeter place because Lee is there with His Savior!!! He was a constant “Barnabus” to us and always remembered to pray for our two children Christina (missionary in Thailand) and our son Matthew (captain in the army). He would ask such personal questions because He was our family. His memory was excellent and he never forgot to pray for/with us over all of these 32 years! We are in shock today as we have just learned of his passing away. The Lord brought him to our minds and my husband tried calling him on several phones and then found out that he just recently passed on to heaven. May God bless Barbara and his sons and families with comfort and peace as I know they are missing him so much!!! He was a humble servant and always encouraged us in missions and our reaching out to internationals. He was our cheer leader and we will miss him beyond words!!!! All my love, Barbara Stidham

  2. Lee Theodore was a constant source of encouragement since the day I first met him at Rancho Community Church in late 1988. At that time, he often lead worship and was the missions chairman. Enthusiasm, conviction, walking in the Spirit, prayerfulness, encouragement, help, counsel, grace, & wisdom are a few of the terms that come to mind as I think about Lee. His advocacy with the missions committee meant that Rancho became our sending church when we left for Thailand with OMF in July of 1989. More than 30 years later, he was still calling me regularly on the phone (in Chicago now) to encourage me and pray with me. My beloved Adelphos will be greatly missed and the world will be a much more desperate place because he is not here interceding in prayer. I treasure our times together and the joy of hearing his voice on the phone. I praise and thank our loving Lord for making my life so much richer because I had Lee in my corner. Surely there are dozens and dozens of others who feel the same. May the Lord’s comfort be upon Barbara, his sons, and their families. I say with all sincerity: “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.” Phil. 1:3

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