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Photo of LeRoy William Nattress, Jr. PhD

LeRoy William Nattress, Jr. PhD November 7, 1932 – December 25, 2013

Please plan to join us or a celebration of Lee’s life. His was a life well lived. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be given to the Services Center for Independent Life an organization dedicated to serving persons with disability (www.scil-ilc.org). Acting as an advocate for the disability community was Lee’s passion and a donation to SCIL will best honor him.

Thank you. If you want more information, please feel free to contact me. My e-mail address is nattress52@msn.com and our mailing address is P.O. Box 250, Angelus Oaks, CA 92305.


God called his faithful servant, LeRoy William Nattress, Jr. home to be with Him on December 25, 2013. For Lee, it was the best Christmas ever; his tasks on earth were complete. He entered heaven and received the commendation “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness.” (Matthew 25: 21)

Lee is survived by his loving wife Debbie, a sister, ten children (both biological and those acquired through marriage), grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, LeRoy William Nattress Sr. and Irma Strassburger Nattress, as well as a son Daniel Nattress.

Lee was born in Albany, New York on November 7, 1932 moving several times during his early life as his father was a pastor. He graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco. After high school, he attended Hope College in Holland, Michigan where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1954 with a double major in Psychology and Biology. Lee was a life-long learner and continued his education at UCLA earning a Master’s in Educational Counseling and Guidance in 1957, meeting the requirements for a Certificate in Rehabilitation Counseling. Later, while living in Washington, D.C., Lee completed all the requirements for an EdD in Adult Education at American University except the dissertation, but was unable to finish because of a job change necessitating a move to New York City. Finally, he completed his PhD in Human Services from Walden University in 1996.

Vocationally, Lee’s life work centered on the disability community. Currently, he was the Executive Director of the Services Center for Independent Life- an organization dedicated to serving as an advocate for persons with disability. Previous jobs in the Inland Empire include the Executive Director of Urban Community Action Projects, the Director of Program Development for Community Health Systems, the Managing Partner of L and L Resources, an Assistant Professor and Director of the Office of Education and Research and a Special Assistant to the Dean for Educational Affairs for Loma Linda University School of Medicine. Earlier, Lee held jobs in Washington D.C., New York City, Chicago, Illinois, and Los Angeles, California including serving as an independent consultant, the President of Natresources, the Director of the Office of Education and Evaluation for the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery, the Education Director for the American Orthotics and Prosthetics Association, the Executive Director of the American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics, and the Coordinator of the Prosthetics Education Program at UCLA.

In addition to his “paid” positions, Lee dedicated his life to volunteering in the community founding and serving with many nonprofit organizations. Most of this information was gathered from his calendars and resume, but several organizations may have been inadvertently omitted. His community affiliations include the American Health Care Congress, the American Psychological Association, the BiNational Health Initiative of the Inland Empire, the Boy Scouts of America, the California Alliance of Information and Referral Service, the California Association of Nonprofits, the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, Californians for Disability Rights, California Health Advocates, Citrus Valley Health Partners, several Chamber of Commerce organizations, the Coalition for Common Ground, the Cops and Clergy Network, Emergency Network for Los Angeles- Access and Functional Needs, ExecNET, First Five grant evaluator, Goodwill Int., Health Initiative of the Americas, the Inland Empire Disabilities Collaborative, the Latino Health Collaborative, Learning for Life at the regional and national level, Loma Linda University Community Advisory Board, Loma Linda University Occupation and Physical Therapy Curriculum Committee member, Loma Linda University adjunct faculty, Los Angeles Aging Advocacy Coalition, National Council on Independent Living, the NonProfit Resource Center, San Bernardino county and state 2-1-1 Advisory Committee, San Bernardino State University Nonprofit faith based organization management certificate program, the San Gabriel Disabilities Collaborative, the San Gabriel Homeless Consortium, San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership, the Society for Disability Studies, Tri City Mental Health, United Way of the Inland Valley, the University of California Riverside Chancellor’s School of Medicine Community Advisory Council, and adjunct professor at Western University School of Health Science.

Throughout his life, Lee received several awards for his service to the community. Recently, he was awarded the Disability Access Award from the Los Angeles County Commission on Disability and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. In addition, Lee received the William H. Spurgeon Award from Learning for Life, the Community Champions Award from Molina Health Care, the Dissertation Award from the Institute for Advanced Studies at Walden University, the Whitney M. Young Award from the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the Virgil Honor Order of the Arrow from the Greater New York Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the God and Service Award from the Commission for Church and Youth Agency Relationships, the Bronze Pelican Awards from the Catholic Youth Organizations of the Archdiocese of New York, the Silver Beaver Award from the National Capital area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and the Sir Geoffrey Peto Memorial Award from the international Society for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled. While in Washington D.C., Lee was one of the first Presidential appointees of the President Kennedy’s Committee on Employment of the Handicapped (Executive Order 10994, 1962).

Lee and his wife lived in the San Bernardino Mountains. Even though faced with a lengthy commute and winter driving conditions, Lee loved the mountains and considered them his sanctuary.

With regard to hobbies, Lee became fascinated with Native American culture after spending time on several Indian reservations with his father during his childhood. He loved and collected bison sculptures and Native American art. In addition, he was known for his distinct collection of neckties, always presenting himself as well-dressed in professional attire. Finally, Lee had an incredible bass voice and shared this as a member of the New York Oratorio Society and the Claremont Chorale, as well as singing with several local church choirs through the years. One of his favorites was singing the Messiah each year with colleagues from Loma Linda University.

In conclusion, Lee lived an exemplary life, full of service to others. Those of us who loved him will miss him, but we have hope that death is not the end; we will see him again in eternity. (I Thessalonians 4:13)