It is with a heavy heart that The Weekly Challenger family has to say goodbye to one of its own. Rick Gee passed away early Saturday morning after complications with surgery he had a few days before.
Born on December 3, 1934, Mr. Gee graduated from Howard University and did his postgraduate studies from Williams College and American University.
An avid swimmer, he missed the Olympic tryouts in the 1950s after hurting his elbow playing basketball. He is also in the Athletic Hall of Fame for Howard University and for the city of Newark, NJ.
He never stopped swimming; in fact, this year he was heard complaining that a man almost 30 years his junior beat him swimming laps. He said his ego just wouldn’t allow that.
A veteran of the army, Mr. Gee blew into town in 2003 from Newark, NJ, and in a short time galvanized the whole jazz community in the Tampa Bay area. Always with a smile on his face, he excitedly spoke of some new adventure he had on the horizon.
He is a former President of the Al Downing Tampa Bay Jazz Association and was the current Vice President of the Sarasota Jazz Association. He was not just a lover of jazz, for he could bring you to tears when he played the flute.
Mr. Gee is survived by his two daughters Gina and Ginger Gee from Maryland and Texas respectively. He also leaves behind his loving companion Yvonne Alsup and a host of friends that will surely miss him.
A celebration of life will take place Sat., March 22 at Bethel Community Church, 2901 54th Ave. S., St. Petersburg at 11 a.m.