Lee Passow


Lee Paul Passow, 66, died on Friday morning, May 10, 2024, at his home with family in Pine Island due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

Lee was born on September 26, 1957, to Ivan and Emagene (Pinkley) Passow in Austin, MN.  His passions included his family, art and antiques, and the outdoors. He was known by those close to him for his love of family and being patient, selfless, supportive, and courageous.

Lee had several jobs including working at Tonka, the Blood Bank at Mayo Clinic, owning an antique store, and as an artist.  He worked in the Blood Bank at St. Mary’s Hospital of Mayo Clinic for 19 years, and valued helping the doctors in the ER for patients needing transfusions. In 1990 he fell while climbing a cliff in Lanesboro, an accident that left him paraplegic and in chronic pain.  He was determined not to let his injuries define him, and retired from Mayo 7 years later to follow his passion and opened an antique shop at the current site of Victoria’s Restaurant. He frequented Gold Rush and went out of his way to help others understand the value and significance of family antiques and heirlooms, also frequently giving away small treasures. Subsequent to his injuries, his mother helped him understand a proclivity and love for art. He was particularly talented at pipestone carving because of its connection with peacemaking, and he was gifted pipestone by some of the native tribes for his work. He was also known for creating intricate paper snowflakes depicting Christmas themes, which he frequently gave to other patients, friends, family, coworkers, and medical personnel at Mayo Clinic, who were often deeply touched. His art was displayed at SEMVA Art Gallery, Mayo Clinic’s Gallery, and other galleries around Southeast Minnesota.

Lee was loved and appreciated by those who knew him. He loved helping his children with schoolwork, camping, watching his sons play sports, and doing demolition derby with his brother, Keith. He loved creating art and flower gardening with his beloved mother, Emagene. He frequented the local dog park with his wife Ann and their Alaskan Huskies Arthis, Aurora, and Moonlight. He loved opportunities to play with his grandchildren, and he loved them very much. He didn’t let his handicap stand in the way of helping others or engaging in physical activities around the house from cutting down trees, to plumbing and painting. Despite near-constant pain and even while declining with Alzheimer’s, he was always kind and patient.

Lee met Mihaela Ana (Ann) Brent Passow while playing video games with Ann’s boys David and Elliott, and they enjoyed gaming together for several years. When Ann came to Mayo Clinic for her healthcare, Lee offered to help her get settled. As soon as they met, however, their relationship blossomed.


Lee married Ann on October 6, 2007 at Christ Our Rock Lutheran Church in Rochester. Lee later became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They saw life and its challenges and tender mercies through the eye of faith in God and Jesus Christ. They loved their church family for the kindness and support they gave them, and he enjoyed helping with many activities such as the Pinewood Derby. His longtime care by Drs. Thorsteindottir, Giddings Connolly, and Marsh, many great nurses at Mayo Clinic, and others, along with his devoted wife, Ann and son David, prolonged his life and contributions by many years. Many other friends made his life rich, for example, friends at the dog park helped him learn to stand, even in his last years.

Lee is survived by his wife, Mihaela; brother, Keith; children, Kelly, Ryan, and Trevor; stepsons, David and Elliott Stark; and 10 grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, and sister, Angie.

A celebration of life will be on Wednesday, June 5 at Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2300 Viola Road NE, Rochester at 7pm.

Memories and condolences of Lee may be shared at rochestercremationservicesmn.com.

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