Edward M. Lee, a native of Savannah, Mo., died unexpectedly Aug. 18 after a cardiac incident at his home in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. He was 77.

He was the son of the late S.E. Lee Jr., and Bonnie H. Lee, past owners of The Savannah (Mo.) Reporter, where Edward worked as a youth before embarking on a career in journalism.

Known to friends as Ed, he was a 1963 graduate of Savannah High School and then was graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. After graduation, he moved to Chicago and met Arleen Clemmesen. They were married in Chicago in 1972, and raised their family in River Forest, Ill., before retiring full time in Rhinelander, Wis. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this year in Tucson, Arizona.

Ed’s career began at The Chicago Tribune as a business writer and columnist. He later became director of communications for the Chicago Board of Trade.

Ed entered the baking industry in 1982 upon joining Gorman Publishing Co. as editor of Bakery Production & Marketing magazine, then the world’s largest food industry publication. He also served as editorial director for Gorman, which published a variety of food industry-related magazines and newsletters. 

In 1987, he became the founding editor and co-owner of Modern Baking magazine, which grew to become the industry's leading, award-winning publication, and later of Baking Management magazine, both published by Donohue-Meehan Publishing Co. After Ed and his partners sold the company in 1998 to Penton Media, he joined Penton and was publisher of Modern Baking when he retired in 2004. 

During his journalism career in the baking industry, Ed served on industry advisory boards for the Retail Bakers of America and the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association. He was asked to speak frequently at industry events due to his depth of knowledge and years covering the baking industry. He spoke on bakery trends and business issues for the American Society of Baking, Biscuit & Cracker Manufacturers Association, Retail Bakers of America, National Association of Flour Distributors, Food Marketing Institute and National Restaurant Association.

Among awards Ed received are the American Business Media Jesse H. Neal Award for Editorial Excellence (business journalism's equivalent to the Pulitzer Prize) for a series of articles on how bakery operators can improve profitability and first place in feature writing from the American Society of Business Press Editors for a series about how consumer attitudes and tastes for bakery foods were changing and how bakery operators could capitalize on them. 

Ed was inducted into the 2012 Emeritus Members Class of The Retail Bakers of America. The RBA's Emeritus Membership honors individuals who influenced the RBA and the bakery industry. 

Ed’s son, Ed C. Lee, is a salesman at Joy Baking Group out of Hermitage, PA and is active with The Bakers Courtesy Club of Chicago, American Society of Baking, National Association of Flour Distributors and the Baking Industry Foundation.

Ed’s passion was his family and friends, many of whom were recipients of one of his affectionate nicknames. He enjoyed bow hunting, boating, hiking, astronomy and fly fishing, interests cultivated from his time in Savannah working toward becoming an Eagle Scout. 

In addition to Arleen, Ed is survived by his daughter, Jessica Murphy (wife of Brian B. Murphy), and a son, Edward C. Lee, all of the Chicago area; a brother, Tom, of Tucson; and two grandchildren, Brian E. Murphy, and Jane E. Murphy; and nieces Dana Lee, of Tucson, and Tessa Lee, of Phoenix.

Services will be held Friday, August 26th at 1p.m. @ United Lutheran Church 409 Greenfield St, Oak Park, IL 60302.