Cover photo for Lee Dexter Arnett's Obituary
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1936 Lee 2023

Lee Dexter Arnett

June 4, 1936 — October 24, 2023

Spanish Fork, UT

Lee, age 87, passed away peacefully on Oct. 24, 2023 in Spanish Fork, Utah. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on June 4, 1936, to Willard Preston Arnett and Leah Blanche (Hunter) Arnett. Lee was the youngest of his parents’ four children following his sisters, Leah Mae and Norma, and his brother Stanley.

 

Lee played saxophone and was the drum major in the Lakewood High School marching band. He began playing professionally at age 15. He left his Ohio home after completing high school to join the US Air Force. As a member of the marching band at the newly opened Air Force Academy in northern Colorado, Lee performed at Eisenhower’s second inauguration. His time in the Air Force eventually inspired a hobby.  Over two decades later Lee held a single-engine pilot’s license with commercial and instrument ratings that he used for personal enjoyment and family travel.

 

While serving at the Air Force academy, Lee joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Lee served God through his church in many ways over the succeeding decades including music, building construction, leading youth and adult groups, and helping others.

 

Lee married Leah Annette Johnson, a native of Phoenix, Arizona, in Denver, Colorado, on June 21, 1956. Their marriage was sealed on March 15, 1957, in the Mesa Arizona Temple. They are loved by their children: Gary A. Arnett of Blue Springs, Missouri; Patricia L. (Arnett) Fielding of Ammon, Idaho; Larry S. Arnett of Springville, Utah; Daniel J. Arnett of Selah, Washington; and David W. Arnett of Olathe, Kansas. Lavinia Tisi of Tuba City, Arizona, is like a daughter to Leah and Lee. They have been blessed with 26 grandchildren and 52 great-grandchildren.

 

Leah and Lee lived in the Denver, Cleveland, and Los Angeles California areas before relocating to Yakima, Washington, in 1976. They would live most of their lives in Yakima, a community they loved. Lee moved to Springville in 2022 to be with family there.

 

Lee had several jobs during his life, including owner of a radio & television repair shop, Engineering roles at many radio and TV stations, and both technical and artistic roles with the Tape-Athon Company in Los Angeles. In Yakima, Lee and Leah owned and operated Arnett Engineering, Rental Service, and Arnett Properties. Lee taught electronics to high school students at the Yakima Valley Vocational Skills Center. Lee served as President of the Yakima Valley Landlord Association, and President of the Yakima and State Mobile Home Park Associations.

 

Music was always a big part of Lee’s life, his home, and his family. Lee, Leah, and all their children learned to sing well and play instruments. Lee led or played in several Big Band style dance bands. He rubbed shoulders with well-known people from Arthur Fiedler and Tim Conway to George Greeley, Henry Mancini, and Leroy Anderson. Lee even appeared as a TV cameraman in an opening sequence of the movie Fortune Cookie.

 

Lee is survived by all his descendants. We will miss his stories, his wit, and his songs. He is preceded in death by his parents and siblings, as well as his beloved wife with whom he lived most of the best stories. We are confident he was welcomed by them with tears of joy, some jubilant songs, and maybe a joke or two.

 

Funeral services will be held at 11 AM MST on November 11th at the Hobble Creek Stake Center, 495 S. Canyon Rd., Springville Utah. A graveside service will be held at 10:00 AM PST on November 14th at Terrace Heights Memorial Park, 3001 Terrace Heights Dr., Yakima, Washington. Links to the LiveStream videos for the funeral and the internment services are given below.
 
 

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