Dr. Nelly E. Lee, age 84, of Mt. Sterling, formerly of West Chicago, Illinois passed away on April 21, 2020. She was born on February 27, 1936, to Claude and Irene (Marshal) Lee. Nelly was very proud to be from West Chicago (which was never to be confused with Chicago). She had a love of animals that led her to the University of Illinois where she was the first woman in the veterinary medicine program. She joked about being a “token female” in the program, however, she proved herself to be a very caring, nurturing doctor who was known for spending plenty of time with her patients and never rushing through her work. It was more than work for Nelly, it was her life. Her veterinary career spanned over nearly 50 years. One of Nelly’s prides was her mobile vet clinic that she bought in 1982 which was custom-made from a motor home. Nelly retired from her practice in West Chicago in 2001 when she moved to a farm in rural Gays Mills. She planned to enjoy her retirement with her companion of 29 years, Harry “Cal” Ashbaugh, unfortunately he passed away just four days later. Nelly opened a veterinary practice in rural Gays Mills that she ran part time for a few years. Home on the farm she kept herself surrounded by friends in her horses, sheep, dogs, and cats, and a few chickens too.
One of Nelly’s lifelong loves was horses. In her younger days she participated in equestrian competitions. She still had her complete riding outfit from her competition days. She liked to tell stories about her riding days. Her love of horses remained and she always had them on the farm. Her other hobbies included reading, gardening, spinning & weaving, and collecting antiques.
In the later years Nelly developed dementia and has spent the last few years in the loving care of the staff at the Bethel Oaks Memory Care Home in Viroqua. She received excellent care there and was treated like family. Special thanks to Shawn, Sheila, Melissa, and all the countless others who were so wonderful with Nelly.
Nelly has no living family members. She is survived by her friends and neighbors, Jay & Lisa Greene, and her good friend, John Johnson. Nelly was preceded in death by her parents, her only sister, Nancy Neylon, and her brother-in-law, Joe Neylon.A private graveside service will be held. Online Condolences may be shared at www.vossfh.com. Vosseteig Funeral Home in Gays Mills is serving Nelly’s friends and neighbors.