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Lee Perry Kanago
Perry “Lee” Kanago, 87, passed away on Friday, October 5th, 2018. Memorial services for Lee will be held Monday, October 15th at 11:00 AM at Christ Episcopal Church in Yankton, SD. Fr. Tim Fountain will preside with inurnment to follow at Yankton Municipal Cemetery.
Lee was born July 7th, 1931 in Webster, SD to Bernard and Lois (Picht) Kanago. He attended Webster Public Schools and graduated from Webster High School. He joined the U.S. National Guard and was activated and served during the Korean War. Lee received his teaching degree from Northern State Teachers College in Aberdeen and earned his Master’s Degree in Education from Colorado State University in Greeley. While at Northern, he met and married his wife of 55 years, Marilee Buttz. Upon completing his degree, he began teaching and coaching in Wauneta, Nebraska before coming to Yankton. He is best known and remembered for his 25 years as Yankton’s Middle School Principal, a position he held until his retirement in 1990. He carried many fond memories of both teachers and students that passed through those middle school doors.
Throughout his years in Yankton, Lee enjoyed many social outings with bridge club friends as well as his local Elks.
Lee’s happy place was fishing, hunting, and engaging in sports, whether participating or watching. While in high school, he was part of the Webster Bearcat basketball teams that won the State B Basketball Championships three years in a row, creating lasting bonds of friendship and contributing to his career path. Lee began hunting and fishing before he could remember. He likely didn’t share with his students that when he was their age, he was skipping school to earn cash on the side as a hunting and fishing guide. Over the years, lifelong friendships were forged with like-minded companions. Later in life, when fishing time became more plentiful, many were the recipients of Lee’s coveted walleye. He’d been known to trade fish for homemade goods (also a special fondness).
Lee is survived by his daughter, Cynthia Montgomery (Craig) Westlake Village, CA; son, Paul Kanago (Meta) Columbia, MO; sister Cynthia Brown Omaha, NE; grandchildren, Brittainy Kelly (BJ) League City, TX; Jordan Wendell (Melissa) Port Hueneme, CA; Tayler MacLeod (Richard) Yankton, SD; Kyle Montgomery Westlake Village, CA; Alexi Heilman (John) Lenexa, KS; Marilee Eileen Cope (Reed) Minneapolis, MN; Samantha Kanago Columbia, MO, and great grandchildren, Christian, Riley, Jaxson, Jett, Lucy and Zoe.
Lee was preceded in death by his wife, Marilee, son, Timothy, and parents, Lois and Bernard.
In lieu of flowers, the family will accept memorials for Christ Episcopal Church in Yankton,
RIP my friend. You showed us all how to live life.
Tim and Joni Branaugh Oct 15 2018 5:38 PM
Lee and Larry are first cousins but never got to spend much time getting to know each other. We are sorry of his passing. Our love to the family.
Larry and Judy Picht Oct 10 2018 3:55 AM
Mr. Kanago taught an excellent college level sociology course to me in high school. Lee hunted many, many weekends with us and my father and was a skilled shot! He was always a gentleman and a true "good guy". RIP Lee.
John and Mar Willcockson Oct 9 2018 5:06 AM
Mr. Kanago was the principal at the middle school when I was there. He always had a big smile for me--every day! I think he knew I was having a hard time adjusting & he wanted to help. Seeing him smile every day was a HUGE help. I never forgot that. My prayers are with you all. I am certain he is with Jesus. Please rely on Him to ease your pain.
Tammy (Hill) Kokesh Oct 8 2018 7:10 PM
So very sorry to hear of Lees passing. He was a wonderful principal and a true friend. I will never forget our early AM coffees together. He will be missed by many!
Carmen Robinson Oct 8 2018 3:37 AM