Lee Armentrout passed away at Countryside Home in Jefferson on Sunday, Oct. 21 at the age of 103.

Lee was born in Mattoon, Ill. in 1909. With dreams of becoming a baseball player (his great uncle, John Seys, was on the management team of The Chicago Cubs and Lee spent some of his youth at Wrigley Field watching games and occasionally getting to throw the ball around with the pros. His mother gave him piano lessons and he took up trombone in high school, eventually choosing music over baseball. Arriving in Chicago in 1929, Lee began a long love affair with the sound of music; jazz music. During the early years, jazz trombonist Lee earned an enviable reputation as a Prohibition-era musician. He arranged music for a number of jazz-era musicians and singers including Jack Teagarden, Ted Weems, Bonnie Baker, Gertrude Neisen, and big band leader, Russ Morgan. In the early 1940's, he was music arranger for a CBS radio show with Ben Bernie that was sponsored by Wrigley's Spearmint Gum. After a couple of years as music arranger for the Chicago Theater stage shows (1944-46), he became staff arranger for WBBM Radio where he worked with conductor Caesar Petrillo. He then moved to NBC network radio station to arrange for Alec Templeton and for the Sheaffer Pen Show. Lee went on to become a producer and director for WBBM Radio for nearly 20 years except for a four-year stint as president of Talent, Inc. (his most memorable job being casting extras for the movie "North By Northwest" starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint and directed by Alfred Hitchcock), and as a recording director at Wilding Film studios (1956-60). While at WBBM Radio, he produced the popular Paul Gibson talk show, including segments from major European capitals. For most of the 1970's, Lee was with WBBM-TV as floor manager for several programs including the Lee Phillip Show and the evening news with Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson. An art lover and self-taught painter, although he did study briefly with internationally known sculptor bruno Beghe at the famous Palette and Chisel studios and with Annette Ochner and Charlotte Hackin, Lee spent his retirement years painting, studying and traveling. Lee is pictured with "Mr. Cub", Ernie Banks who always had time to come over and say hello to Lee and his daughters during warm up at Wrigley Field. Lee is survived by family members in Lake Mills, Louise Austin, Dale Armentrout and Jill Armentrout and also by daughters Jeanne O'Steen of Ooltewah, Tenn., Lynn Armentrout of Brooklyn, N.Y. and numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren and a few great-great grandchildren.

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