In Thief River Falls, Lee Plumbing and Heating has thrived over a century under leadership that represents four generations.
Lee Plumbing & Heating was founded in 1905 by Norwegian immigrant, Edward Lee . He and his family lived above the plumbing shop, which was originally located at 213 Main Avenue North. Edward’s sons, Carl & Roy, grew up helping with the business and later returned there to work. Roy returned to Thief River Falls to work in the family business in 1950 and Carl purchased the business in 1952. Edward Lee passed away that year at the age of 90. In 1965, the business moved to its current location of 1430 Main Avenue North.
After completing a degree in accounting and working as a CPA, Carl’s son, Larry, returned to Thief River Falls and joined the business in 1979. Larry purchased the business in 1982 and Roy retired in 1985. Carl continued to work until his death in 1996 at the age of 79. Larry’s wife, Cheryl, also joined the staff at Lee Plumbing and Heating utilizing her accounting degree as the chief financial officer.
The fourth generation of Lee’s, Derek, joined the company in 2005 after working for a wholesale plumbing company in the Twin Cities. He was eager to return to Thief River Falls and carry on the family tradition. Like all the Lee children, Derek, grew up working at the plumbing business during the summer months while attending high school and college.
From the beginning, the business has specialized in plumbing and hot water heating, serving the northwestern part of Minnesota and eastern North Dakota. As times have changed, so has the scope of work. New practices and technologies have changed how installations are completed. From old cast iron drain lines to new plastic lines and from lead water lines to new pex lines components have truly evolved. Heating components have become much more efficient and computerized. Lee Plumbing and Heating strives to stay abreast of the new technologies and products to provide the customer with the best possible options for their plumbing and heating needs.