FLORENCE – Gone but not forgotten, forever in our hearts. A son, husband and father. A coach, mentor and friend. A brother, uncle and grandpa, who gave his all, right to the end.
William "Lee" Zeiler never knew a stranger, no matter where he went. He was loyal and loving, no matter the circumstance, always helping others, even when it meant less for him. He had a heart for people, especially kids. He used his love for basketball to teach innumerable athletes not just the game, but to teach invaluable life lessons. His relationships with each athlete was always lifelong and meaningful. He filled countless gyms with his booming voice, contagious laughter and passion for the game. He never missed a game, from t-ball to varsity basketball; he was there for it all. Most of all, he dearly loved his family; Uncle PeeWee doted on his nieces and nephews. He spent many nights with his wife, son, daughter, son-in-law, granddaughter and of course, Dog, laughing and watching Discovery Channel. Those were the times he loved the most.
On his job sites, he pushed hard to get what he could from his crew but never expected them to do anything that he was not willing to do himself. Lee was highly respected for his concrete craftsmanship across Western Montana. PeeWee not only knew how to work hard, but to play hard. The whitetail are safer now that "Lethal Leroy" has moved onto better hunting grounds, and the fish in the creeks are swimming at ease.
He was born in Hamilton on May 29, 1962, to William and Elizabeth Marie Zeiler. He departed this life to be with his Father in heaven on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. To cherish his memory, he leaves behind his wife of 29 years, Mary Zeiler; his parents, William and Elizabeth Marie Zeiler; his son Derek Zeiler; his daughter Grace Johnson; his son-in-law Jonathan Johnson; his precious granddaughter Mia "little princess" Johnson; his two brothers, Alan Zeiler (Amanda Zeiler) and Duane Zeiler (Tara Zeiler) and his two sisters, Ann Johnson (CJ Johnson) and Beth Zeiler. He also precedes in death 17 nieces and nephews; one great-nephew; five aunts; three uncles; three brothers-in-law; a mother-in-law and abundant friends. We will all miss Coach PeeWee greatly.
Lee always loved a packed gym, so let's fill it up for him one more time. Please join us in a celebration of Lee's life at 4 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 21, in the Stevensville High School Gymnasium with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, the Lee Zeiler Memorial Basketball Fund has been set up at Farmers State Bank to help coaches and athletes in the valley carry on PeeWee’s love of the game. Donations can be dropped off at any FSB location or mailed to: FSB Attn: Lee Zeiler Memorial Basketball Fund, 5501 Old Hwy 93, Florence, MT 59833.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at whitesittfuneralhome.com.