Lee Sullivan Burton of Gro-ton MA died Friday, January 8, 2021 after a brief illness. Lee was born in Cleveland, OH on December 22, 1937 to Homer and Elizabeth Sullivan where she attended elementary school in Cleveland Heights and graduated high school from Hathaway Brown School, Shaker Heights. She graduated from Centenary College in Hackettstown, NJ. In high school and college she excelled at athletics, especially field hockey, figure skating, basketball, softball and tennis.
Always interested in the sciences, after college she worked in the hematology unit at the Cleveland Clinic and years later, she volunteered (approximately 500 hours a year) at the Children’s Hospital in Oakland, CA.
She and a friend decided to travel in Western Europe for three months, which turned into a year-long adventure. Her keen sense of observation, love of learning about other cultures, independent streak and her sense of adventure made this a once in a lifetime experience. Over the ensuing years, she and her husband Vic enjoyed traveling in Eu- rope, Australia, Asia and South America. More recently, in her 70s she and friend won a trip to South Africa through a fundraiser and enjoyed a safari among other adventures.
After her year in Europe, she thought about where she would like to live and moved to San Francisco where she met and married Robert Daggett, the father of her two children: Ann and John Daggett. Lee was an enthusiastic and dedicated volunteer to organizations in the San Francisco bay area during the 1960s and 1970s including the Piedmont Swim Team and Head Royce School. She hosted many benefit parties at her lovely Piedmont home. Her hospitality remained a constant in Groton where she and her husband Vic Burton moved in 1980.
In Groton, after living on Peabody Street for over a decade, she and Vic moved to Wood Lane where they designed and created a most beautiful, calm and welcoming home overlooking Gibbet Hill where she hosted many meetings and friends.
Lee’s generosity and dedication to volunteering continued and flourished in Groton. She was a member and volunteered for The Groton Garden Club where she served on many committees, worked at the Plant Sale, ready to offer advice and share her cuttings with everyone. She initiated the Daffodil Project where she and club members sold and planted 1,000s of daffodils to individuals and donated and planted them on town properties such as Legion Common and the library.
She was treasurer of the Groton Friends of the Tree Warden and member since 1998, hosting every meeting at her home. Lee was the first volunteer at the Groton Public Library in 1987 where she was a key part of the library staff for 26 years. She was a founder and supporter of Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry where she gave and volunteered for decades and she was a participant in Groton Food Neighborhood Project which currently collects for the food pantry. Other volunteer organizations included Nashoba Hospital, Nashua River Watershed Association and Indian Hill Music Center. She was a member of St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Ayer.
Lee was an unassuming and humble person who never wanted to be acknowledged for her many kindnesses. She was generous in a multitude of ways, quietly doing and giving to others. She was a woman of action shown by the hundreds of trees she helped fund and plant in Groton, the thousands of cans of food she collected, the thousands of books she shelved and the thousands of daffodils that she planted. Her deeds made for a better, more caring and more beautiful community. But beyond that, the lives that she touched when she welcomed a newcomer or gave a sympathetic ear to a family member or a friend can’t be measured. She could have fire in her eye and was ready for adventures, loved a competitive game of bridge or scrabble, enjoyed chocolate, ice cream, paddling on the river, a good laugh, reading, rug hooking, jigsaw puzzles (completed without looking at the picture). Lee knew the joy of being still and observing nature. She delighted in the birds outside her window and the cows on Gibbet Hill. She lived a good, full life and acknowledged it with joy and gratitude. Hers was a life well lived and as one friend stated “one that I try to emulate daily.”
She is survived by her sister and brother-in-law, Ann and Ace Parker of Salisbury MD; sister, Kay Sullivan Wellman of Chagrin Falls, OH; her daughter and son-in-law, Ann Daggett and Kevin McCluskey of Oakland, CA; and her son, John Sullivan Daggett of Asheville, NC; her granddaughter, Morgan Daggett McCluskey of Baltimore, MD; and her grandson and his wife, Daniel (Sullivan) and Sophie McCluskey of Kansas City, MO.
Donations in Lee’s memory can be made to Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry.