Cover photo for Lee James Bicknell's Obituary

Lee James Bicknell

October 7, 1969 — May 26, 2024

Lee James Bicknell

Lee James Bicknell beloved husband, son, brother and uncle passed away peacefully on Sunday, May 26, 2024 at the University of Utah hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah.
 
Lee had Polycystic Kidney disease, a genetic disease that ravaged his mother Jenny, his brother Carl and his maternal Aunt Jackie and they all died from it. Lee was on Hemodialysis for almost 20 years, which was remarkable.
He fought to live and had at least three times being resuscitated and continued his life’s journey.
 
He was an animal lover and grew up with dogs and then had cats with his wife Rachel for almost 24 years. He believed very much in rescuing animals and giving them a forever home. He and Rachel volunteered with Community Animal Welfare Society (CAWS.) They fostered ten cats and adopted four of those sweet kitties.
 
He grew up in the East Midlands, Leicestershire in Hinckley Burbage in England. That is right in the middle of England, about 2 hours north of London. He lived there until the age of thirty, when he emigrated to Salt Lake City and married Rachel. He had never traveled outside of England, until he came to Utah to see what America was like. On this travel adventure, he stayed with June and John Joseph, longtime friends in England who had emigrated to Utah some years before. June Joseph had an English friend who was visiting America and staying with Rachel. Just a quirk of fate. June thought of matchmaking. Maybe this woman and Lee would hit it off. They were the same age and both from England! This friend contacted June and June invited her with Rachel to have dinner with them. This is how Lee and Rachel met. Lee was still staying with the Josephs for about a week and a half. The Englishwoman invited Lee to church. Then she realized after that she would be back in England.
 
Lee had a low opinion of American cars. He had rented a car. The first one backfired and then would not start. Car number two wouldn’t go up a hill hardly at all. The third car ran but it was impossible to get the driver’s side door open. This was a 2-door, so less room to climb from the passenger side to the driver side. He returned it soon after. Rachel asked him what the name of the rental car place was. He told her and she said she’d never heard of it. Since Lee was now carless, Rachel invited him to a couple of informal gatherings. (He’ll be going home soon and never to be seen again.) Then Lee asked Rachel for a date to Lagoon. It was early September and when they got there it was closed except for weekends. Rachel breathed a sigh of relief, since he had asked her to go swimming at Lagoon. Especially on a first date! She did tell him that she had a boyfriend for a long time but he didn’t live in Utah. One of the days they went for a walk and he asked, “is that bloke going to marry you?” She said, Hmmm, I don’t know.” They had dated for a number of years.I think Lee decided I was fair game. As he was leaving, he asked if they could stay in touch. I said, oh, sure! (Too far away, and he won’t stay in touch.)
So on his flight home, his plane had to stop in Atlanta for some mechanical issue. He was there for a few hours, so he called her up. Then he flew to New York, and they had overbooked the flight so they asked for volunteers to give up their seats. British Airways offered a free round-trip flight, international and domestic. He volunteered, they put him up in a nice hotel with food vouchers.
 
He called her again. When he got home, he emailed her. They dated for almost a year, writing letters, calling and emailing.
 
June Joseph called Rachel and asked if she’d like to go to England and stay with a friend of hers. Rachel thought, “I have a free ticket I’ve been saving and I’ve never been to that part of England…….”
 
They met in America or England four times during that year. They also had a lot of telephone time, email and letters.
 
Lee took Rachel one day to Stratford upon Avon-a beautiful village with ties to William Shakespeare. They sat on a bench at the edge of the River Avon. Swans were floating by. He didn’t know that swans were Rachel’s favorite bird. It was a perfect day in every way! He brought out a ring box and said, “will you consider it? She said yes and they went off to have lunch at one of Stratford’s sidewalk cafes.
 
They began their life together on May 16, 2000. Life was good for the first few years. They were working and Lee started college. Lee graduated with his Associates Degree and with honors. He began attending the University of Utah.
 
In 2002, Rachel had an abscess in her spine. It was very serious. It took months to heal, which never happened completely. In early October 2003, Lee went in to see his Nephrologist (kidney doctor) on a routine check up. The doctor said to him, “both of your kidneys are only functioning at 20%. I want you to be on dialysis by the end of October.”
 
Both of these two illnesses changed their health and their lives. From then on, they were both in and out of the University hospital, up to the time Lee passed away in May 2024.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, June 15th at 11:00 AM at the LDS Church located at 1950 South 1200 East, Sugarhouse, with a visitation one hour prior to services. Interment to follow services at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Salt Lake City.

Lee Bicknell - Funeral Recording.mp3

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Visitation

Saturday, June 15, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Mountain time)

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Funeral Service

Saturday, June 15, 2024

11:00 - 11:00 am (Mountain time)

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