A woman’s goodness can be found in what she does with her life. Her successes, her achievements, her beauty as a person.
A woman’s greatness is found in what her children become. Their successes, their achievements, their soul as a person.
I didn’t know Doris Lee personally. I knew her from a distance. She and her husband Ted founded the Eureka Casino in Mesquite in the late 1990s. They took a chance on a small town in the dusty hills far away from the glittering streets and glamourous lights of Las Vegas.
The tale I heard was that Ted brought her to Mesquite and he liked what he saw. He began the family’s plans to make this community a great one. I think she might have had the final say. But I don’t know for sure.
I know from my father-in-law’s words that Mr. and Mrs. Lee could be found walking the carpets of their fledgling business at all hours of the day. My father-in-law worked the third shift at the Eureka Casino in days gone by. He would tell us tales about Mrs. Lee picking up a fallen napkin at three in the morning, stopping to ask about a patron’s vacation, giving a dour eye to leftover drink glasses that hadn’t been gathered quickly enough for her standards.
I know more about her from watching, talking to, and discussing with her son Greg, and his “adopted brother” Andre, various issues, concerns, topics, about Mesquite. I learned through them that her heart was always about what was best for the people in the community and not necessarily about just the family business.
Her heritage extends beyond her sons Greg and Ernie (and Andre) to the employees at the family business known as the Eureka Casino Hotel Resort and the Rising Star Sports Ranch. Mrs. and Mr. Lee were instrumental in making those two businesses a first in Nevada’s gaming industry – employee owned. Almost overnight, she grew her family by 550 people.
It didn’t take me long to realize that Greg and Andre embodied Mrs. Lee’s spirit and concern for other people. I also realized after a time that both of these grown, strong, well-educated, well-versed men pretty much did just want Mom advised them to do. Okay, told them to do. “Do your best and do what’s right for the community.”
All of us honor Mrs. Lee’s heart and love every year on July 4th. It was she who took the reins in 2011 and established a tradition in Mesquite for every person, young-old, rich-poor, left-right, gambler-or not, to enjoy one night of incredible music, fun, and celebration of a country that has given her, and all of us, so much to love.
It was Mrs. Lee who convinced professional musicians from Las Vegas with the Nevada Pops Orchestra that the best way to spend a hot holiday evening was putting on one of the best Fourth of July concerts for over 4,000 people in an out-of-the-spotlight little town called Mesquite. And, she made it a free event for all only because she wanted to share her love with everyone.
Now each year many of us enjoy a truly spectacular concert and fireworks that most of us would never be able to without her care and her love.
Mrs. Lee and her husband gave people in this town a job and the city a reason to hope. To many they gave an opportunity and a future. Through the Eureka Casino Hotel and later the Rising Star Sports Ranch, there are hundreds of employees and people who owe their livelihoods to a woman and her husband who took a chance on a small town in the dusty hills called Mesquite.
Mrs. Lee embodied the very absolute spirit that has helped Mesquite to grow and thrive. She worked hard, she cared, she shared.
Peace, Mrs. Doris Lee. Your greatness shines on in those you left behind.
Barbara Ellestad is a reporter for Mesquite Local News.