Lee Ralph Rydalch passed away in his 80th year, in his sleep, in his chair, in the place he often referred to as the most peaceful in the world, San Diego, California.
Lee was born Jan. 10, 1941, in Tooele, Utah, to David Louis Rydalch and Lucille Rose Rydalch. He was the oldest of three siblings, and was raised in Erda with his two sisters, Donna Drollinger and Bonnie Rupp. After graduating from high school, he served in the United States Air Force from Aug. 1959 to Aug. 1963 and surveyed many of the runways used for the X-15 Project. Lee married his sweetheart and lifelong companion of nearly 60 years Sherrie Deann Rydalch, Oct. 18, 1961. Their son Lynn D. Rydalch was born while he served at Edwards AFB in July 1962. Their daughter Julie Ann Rydalch was born Jan. 1, 1964, while Lee was studying in Salt Lake City, Utah. He graduated first in his class from the University of Utah College of Law in June 1972, and was the Articles Editor of the Utah Law Review. After graduating from law school he joined the law firm of Luce, Forward, Hamilton, and Scripps in 1972. Lee and Sherrie’s foster daughter Charlene Puente joined the family in 1977. After leaving Luce, Forward, Lee practiced law as a litigator in the Office of the General Counsel for California State Universities, until his retirement. He taught antitrust law in retirement at California Western School of Law.
In addition to his family commitments and demanding work schedule, Lee served in numerous callings as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and he will long be remembered as a champion of the youth and for his tireless service to others. His callings included service as the bishop in the San Diego 12th Ward and as bishop in the San Diego North Stake Mid-Singles Adult Ward.
Lee was an accomplished listener and an engaging conversationalist. In his spare time he was an avid fan of the University of Utah football and basketball teams, and a fan of the California Angels from their inception. He also had a deep love of film, as evidenced by a personal, indexed collection of movies numbering in the thousands, from which he could recite lines, plots, and characters at will. Those pastimes, often engaged in intensely, could never match his love for watching his granddaughters and now great-granddaughters dance, often on the living room table, to music he selected and to which they passionately performed, or watching his grandsons perform on the football field.
Lee’s dedication to his family and faith were the foundation of a legacy whose influence will be felt for generations yet unborn. He gave freely of his time, counseled only when asked, and all benefitted from his depth of experience, wisdom, keen sense of humor, and his ability to ground a person’s desires and needs in a rational plan of action that anticipated issues well into the future. His ability to counsel effectively was only exceeded by his generosity in providing the love and resources necessary to help others realize their dreams.
Great men accomplish great things in the simplest terms, asking nothing in return and blessing the lives of all who have the good fortune of meeting their acquaintance. Lee Rydalch was great man who will be dearly missed. He is survived by his eternal companion Sherrie Rydalch; his sisters, Donna (Jim) Drollinger and Bonnie Rupp; his children and foster daughter, Lynn (Luz) Rydalch, Julie (Sau) Lavatai, and Charlene (Milo) Puente; eight grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.
Funeral services are scheduled for Saturday, July 3, at 1 p.m., at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4741 Mt. Abernathy, San Diego, California. The viewing will be held from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m., at the same building. Burial services will be conducted in Woodland, Utah, at a date to be determined later.
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