Alice Finch Lee passed away in November of 2014.  She was the eldest of four children and the sister of (Nell) Harper Lee, the author of To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman.

Alice Finch Lee lived an interesting life.  She was born in 1911.  She graduated from high school in 1928 at the age of 16 and attended college.  She worked for a newspaper for seven years.  She was employed by the Internal Revenue Service and attended law school at night.  In 1943, she passed the Alabama Bar Exam and became one of Alabama’s first woman lawyers.  She returned to Monroeville and became a partner in her father’s law firm.  She practiced law in this firm until age 100.  By 2011, when she was 100, she was said to be the oldest practicing woman lawyer in the United States.

Like her sister, Alice Finch Lee was inspired by their father, Amasa Coleman Lee.  A country lawyer, he was Harper’s model for Atticus Finch.  “Nell would call her sister ‘Atticus in a skirt’ according to Marja Mills who wrote a memoir about living next door to the Lee sisters.

According to the Los Angeles Times, at age 100, Alice Lee put herself to sleep by reciting the names of all the presidents of the United States.  If she was still awake when she got to Obama, she started on the Vice Presidents.  If that didn’t work, she launched into the First Ladies and the Governors of Alabama.  She could recite Alabama’s 67 counties and knew the license plate tag numbers for each one.[1]

by Patrick Gaffney

by Patrick Gaffney

[1] The Los Angeles Times Obituaries November 22, 2014.