Vicki Elaine Lee

12/23/1951 — 02/22/2024

From Richland, WA | Born in Devils Lake, ND

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Celebration of Life

Fri, March 22, 2024, 2:00 pm
Einan’s At Sunset Funeral Home
915 Bypass Highway Bldg. H Richland, WA 99352

Vicki Elaine Lee

Vicki Elaine Lee was born to Florence (Birkeland) and Kenneth Hoistad on December 23, 1951, in Devils Lake, North Dakota. She was the last baby born in the old hospital in Devils Lake before it was turned into a nursing home.

She was an outgoing child. At the tender age of 4, she told her amused parents, “I ain’t afraid of nobody or nothing.” That statement became a favorite story repeated over the years. It was humorous and it was true. She made friends easily and maintained many friendships with people every place she lived, worked, or volunteered. She always looked forward to new experiences and places to go.

The family moved to Fergus Falls, Minnesota, in February of 1957. She attended school in Fergus Falls. She was an excellent student, even winning first place in her junior high spelling bee. She graduated from Fergus Falls High School in 1970. She attended college at Moorhead State University in Moorhead, Minnesota, majoring in English.

She married Donald Lee on June 23, 1973, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Fergus Falls. Vicki and Don spent the next three years in Georgia and Florida while Don finished his tour of duty in the Navy. During those years, Vicki taught preschool and kindergarten. They then moved to Fargo, North Dakota, where Vicki taught English at Shanley High School.

In 1980, they moved to Kennewick, Washington, to work at Hanford. Vicki worked at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as a technical editor/writer for 17 years. In 1997, she moved to Desert Communications, a friend’s communication business in Richland. In 2002, she formed her own company, Lee Scientific Communications. For the next five years, she spent one week a month in Washington, DC, writing procedures and policies for the newly formed Department of Homeland Security. In addition, she did work for the U.S. Department of Energy. She retired in 2011.

In 2012, she and Don moved to Maui, a much-loved vacation spot, that she called her heaven on earth. They lived there for 8 years. They found their church home at Kihei Lutheran Church where they were heavily involved in many church activities. Vicki served as treasurer for seven years.

They returned to the Tri-Cities in 2020 and reconnected with old friends. An 8-year cancer survivor, Vicki learned in mid-January of this year that a particularly aggressive cancer had recurred and was very advanced. Always the realist, she bravely opted not to undergo treatment. She died February 22, 2024, at the Tri-Cities Chaplaincy with Don, her devoted husband of 50 years, at her side. She is survived by Don; her sister, Sheree Hoistad of Dickinson, North Dakota; Don’s niece and nephew, Kristin White of Orlando, Florida, and Brett Lee of Dallas, Texas.

Throughout their 50 years together, she and Don were avid travelers, with many wonderful trips to Hawaii, Europe, the South Pacific, the Caribbean Islands, and the Mediterranean. Volunteer work was a big part of her retirement years. On the home front, she loved her cats and usually had several, most of whom were strays who showed up on her doorstep and were taken in. She liked to crochet, a craft she began learning at the age of 8 under her grandmother’s tutelage. Over the years, she made countless beautiful items, particularly baby Afghans that she donated to Project Linus and other similar organizations. She liked to socialize with friends. She appreciated a good cup of coffee and a dish of ice cream. She liked books, TV, puzzles, games on her iPad, and Excel spreadsheets.

She was known for her sense of humor. She loved pranks and jokes and liked to banter with family, friends, and coworkers. For any occasion that required humorous entertainment, she was the one called on to plan and provide it. Anyone who knew her was sure to have a story about something funny she had said or done. We will all miss that.

She was an organ donor. Her final contribution was the gift of sight — her corneas were donated to the Lions Eye Bank.

The family would like any memorial contributions to go to the Tri-Cities Chaplaincy, Please check back for updates regarding Vicki’s Service Details. Thank you.


A Celebration of Life will be held at Einans at Sunset Memorial Gardens Funeral home. Please help us honor Vicki’s life by dressing island tropical for her service.

Guestbook for

Vicki Elaine Lee

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  • Vicki was such a good friend to me. We first connected in junior high and enjoyed hanging out at each other’s homes, walking around Lake Alice, going to high school games and doing homework together. Our friendship continued into college and beyond. It was special to be involved in each other’s weddings and we even shared the same anniversary date! It was amazing to visit Don and Vicki in Maui and see the places they loved so much. Vicki will be missed. Sincere condolences to Don and Sheree.

    Krista Peterson Olia
    March 25, 2024
    Brookfield WI
  • My sincerest condolences to Don. Vicki was so real, so alive. I’ll never forget her many quips and her wise advice when we worked together before and after the DC jaunts. I would not have been a success in my business without her. She will be greatly missed.

    Regina Lundgren
    March 25, 2024
    Tacoma, WA
  • Vicki,
    Love you and miss you.

    Jon Juette
    March 16, 2024
  • My sincere condolences to you, Don. God mightily blessed you with some 50 years of companionship with Vicki, a great Lady, who you will sorely miss. My prayers are with you. Hal Undem

    Halvor Undem
    March 14, 2024
    Richland Wa
  • Vicki is greatly missed!! She was a wonderful friend and sister in Christ. She was always such a blessing to all those around her!!

    Sue Whitney
    March 12, 2024
    Kula, HI
  • Vicki was one of the first people I met when I joined Battelle in 1980, where she had the unenviable task of helping grammatically-challenged engineers in preparing technical reports. Vicki always had a great sense of humor and a very generous disposition. Don and Vicki are a perfect match. They often had friends over for dinner and games. Vicki even shared her “7-layer desert” recipe, that I still use at my own family gatherings. I recall a weekend night escapade she organized where a group of us filled a co-workers office with balloons for their birthday. I have no doubt that she is looking down now and is smiling still.

    Ryan Dodge
    March 8, 2024
    Poulsbo, WA
  • Vicki and I attended Sunday School, Confirmation classes, and Fergus Falls High School together. Vicki and Don got married one week after my husband and I did, and Vicki and I had assisted at each other’s wedding receptions. I hadn’t seen her for many years, but she was a good friend to me. I will miss her. My sympathy and prayers are with Sheree and Don.

    Ruth Michealson Johnson
    March 5, 2024
    Fergus Falls, MN
  • My condolences to Don and family. Vicki will be fondly remembered by so many. Vicki was my first manager at PNNL. She was very good at what she did both as a manager and as an editor and writer, and she was a terrific mentor. But more than what she accomplished (and that was a lot) was the attitude she brought to the job. She had a joy and confidence that inspired joy and confidence in others. She always showed up with a smile on her face, a twinkle in her eye, and a can-do attitude. She will be missed!

    March 5, 2024
  • Our sincerest condolences and prayers for you Don and yours and Vicki’s families. We knew you two at Good Shepherd Lutheran many years ago. Vicki was a beautiful and gracious lady. I always enjoyed talking with her. Our prayers are with you.

    Jon & Norene Erlandson
    March 4, 2024
    Richland WA
  • Dear Don and Sheree, how we feel so honored to have known Vicki and to have had Don and Vicki as our neighbors on Maui. With her unique sense of humor, she always brought a smile to our faces and made us laugh. As a puppy, our dog Kele would disappear under Vicki’s dress and Vicki always came up with a comment (use your imagination) that was sure to have us in stitches. We so enjoyed dinners on our lanai and her homemade ice cream cake. While a jokester, she had her serious and pragmatic side and we so enjoyed our conversations, whatever the topic.

    We will miss her but I can say the memories of our time shared together with Vicki and Don bring smiles to our faces and joy to our hearts.

    Vicki, we salute you for a life, while too short, was well lived. Aloha.

    Steve and Jerry
    March 3, 2024
  • What a beautiful tribute for a beautiful woman. Thoughts and prayers to Don and Vicki’s family. May the smiles of her memory outweigh the tears.

    Thomas & Mya Ganssle
    March 3, 2024
    Grand Forks, ND
  • Vicki was a cherished colleague and extraordinary friend. We will miss her always.
    Our love and heartfelt condolences to Don and Sheree.

    Randy and Patty Clark
    March 3, 2024
    Tri Cities, WA
  • My sincere condolences to Don and er sister. Sheree

    March 2, 2024
    Sitka, AK
  • Rest in peace Vicki. I love and miss you!
    Will see you, Mom and Dad in Heaven one day!

    Sheree Hoistad
    March 2, 2024
    Dickinson, ND
  • Rest in peace Vicki. I love you and miss you!
    Will see you, Mom and Dad in heaven one day!

    Sheree Hoistad
    March 2, 2024
    Dickinson, ND
  • My heartfelt condolences to Sheree and Don.

    Shelley Thomason
    March 2, 2024
    Tucson, AZ
  • Mike and my condolances to sheree and Don.

    Candice thomason
    March 2, 2024
    Devil's lake,ND
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