1968 – 2021
On March 3, 2021, Leroy “Lee” Richard Leet, Jr. traded in his first set of wings for his eternal ones. Lee earned his first set of wings on June 11, 1993, when he became a Second Lieutenant with the United States Air Force. Serving in the Air Force and becoming a pilot set the path of Lee’s life and his passions.
Lee’s curious spirit and quest for knowledge shaped his early years as he worked his way through Butler High School and the University of Louisville where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Engineering Math and Computer Science in 1990. After graduation, Lee served in the United States Air Force. In the mid-1990s, Lee was working as a consultant for a major quick-service restaurant and was tasked with creating a cutting-edge kitchen solution for their multi-brand concept. Lee saw an opportunity and he jumped at the chance to create these solutions on a broader scale. So, Lee quit his consulting job, and in 1996, he founded QSR Automations to build that system. For 25 years, Lee was dedicated to driving QSR’s growth, strategy and innovation of industry solutions that revolutionized restaurant technology. Under Lee’s leadership, QSR Automations has become a global leader in the hospitality and restaurant space.
Lee met his wife, Angela, while they were studying engineering at the University of Louisville and were both members of the Air Force ROTC. They married in October of 2000 and have two sons, Zak (19) and Brennan (16).
In 2009, Lee’s hard work was rewarded with fulfillment of a life-long dream of plane ownership. For the past 10 years, Lee entertained audiences around the country with his mastery of aeronautical maneuvers, including his favorite hometown crowd each year at Thunder Over Louisville. Lee generously provided flights to Air Force cadets who would become pilots themselves, and flew in airshows to help show kids what their future could be.
Lee had many passions in life. His greatest was being a father and watching his sons play sports, especially lacrosse and soccer. He made any and every excuse to spend time at Disney. He was the loudest fan of the Colts, UofL Cardinals and Louisville City FC Soccer teams. He cherished spending Thanksgiving in Chicago with family and friends. He knew every song by Jimmy Buffett. He was a beautiful piano player and loved Mozart. The spark that lit his fire was aviation. He treasured every moment he spent in the sky, performing at air shows around the country and at Thunder Over Louisville, and taking up his friends to see how they would handle the 345 miles per hour twists and turns in his Tucano aircraft.
Lee is preceded in death by his paternal and maternal grandparents along with his mother, Gertrude B. “Trudy” Leet.
Lee leaves behind his wife of 20 years, Angela Chamberlin Leet, along with two sons Zachary (Zak) Leet and Brennan Leet; his father Leroy R. Leet Sr. and wife Mary Belle Perry Leet, his sisters Kimberly Meyer (Jim) and Ginnie Hammons (Jeff); his father and mother-in-law John and Liz Chamberlin, and sister-in-law Elisha Risher (Chris); nieces and nephews Jamie, Julia, Lauren, Logan, Benjamin and Jacob; along with many close friends and his beloved cat, Panda.
Over the past hours and days, the family has relished in the shared memories of Lee’s legacy. One of his QSR employees shared, “I’m sure it doesn’t need to be said, but Lee has been such an amazing and inspirational mentor throughout my life. I started working for him when I was 16, and have been so proud to call QSR my home ever since. This life that I’ve been lucky enough to build for myself is all thanks to him. He’s been my biggest supporter and I’ll forever be grateful. I will certainly miss all of our conversations about work, sports, and most of all, raising our boys.”
From another close family friend, “Lee was a wealth of knowledge and a myriad of unique talents from a wine connoisseur, an avid collector, to an acclaimed stunt pilot, brilliant inventor and top athlete. It would appear there was nothing out of his field of knowledge…”
From a loved friend and mechanic, “Lee was an outstanding man and first and foremost a devoted family man. Lee’s family always came first and in my 85 years, I have never met a successful man such as Lee who so unselfishly dedicated loving time to his family. Lee’s priorities were family, work and his beloved Tucano airplane. I cherish those enjoyable hours at the hanger working with Lee on his Tucano. It was so gratifying to see and share Lee’s keen interest and excitement with the work at hand.”
Lee celebrated his 53rd birthday on Sunday, February 28, surrounded by family. His sons’ handwritten birthday wishes brought Lee to tears as he read, “Happy B-day dad. I’ll never tell you, but you are my hero. Have a good one, I love you. Zak” and “Happy Birthday Dad! I Love you so much. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to make up for everything you’ve done for me. Love, Brennan.”
In 2015 when Lee’s dear friend and pilot mentor passed, Lee wrote, “Flying down for the air show on Jay Gordon’s wing on Friday afternoon. This was Shirley Gordon’s first formation flight and it turned out to be my last with Jay. Jay was a superb pilot and a wonderful human being. He loved flying. More than that he loved his family and friends. He will be missed by everyone he touched. I’ll miss our UL flyovers, our air show adventures, bourbon on the back porch, hanging out at the airport, in the neighborhood, trips together with the kids and talking about family and life. Mostly, I just miss my friend. Safe flying up there and don’t drink all the bourbon.” These words from Lee truly express his character as a friend and a father.
Visitation was held Monday, March 8 at Hanger 34, Bowman Field, 3325 Roger E. Schupp Street, Louisville, KY 40205, from 2 – 5 p.m. with a Celebration of Life ceremony at 5 p.m. that closed with a Missing Man Formation aerial salute. A private funeral will be held at a later time.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations may be made to support the Veteran’s Club INC. (veteransclubinc.org), 1608 Overlook Circle, Shelbyville, KY 40065, or the Lee Leet Memorial Fund (events.lls.org/ky/KentuckySOY21/lmemorial) benefiting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, PO Box 772391, Detroit, MI 48277-2373.
Lee will be missed by many. Always and forever.