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Jan. 29, 1927 – July 31, 2014

Wilma Georgia Dee, who taught figure skating to thousands of Western New Yorkers, died unexpectedly July 31 in her home in Seminole, Fla. She was 87.

Born Wilma Jauch in Montreal, she began skating on a backyard pond there at age 12 and came to the Buffalo area in her teens. She and her sister, Frances Duroure, also an instructor, had a major impact on the growth of figure skating here.

Mrs. Dee coached many regional and sectional figure skating champions and knew many of the sport’s major Olympic stars.

She taught for 65 years, primarily at the Amherst Skating Club, but also at the Buffalo Skating Club, the Skating Club of Western New York and in Clearwater, Fla.

She taught her final class less than a year ago.

She served as director of figure skating at Holiday Twin Rinks in Cheektowaga. She also was a strong supporter of the Special Olympics.

The Amherst Skating Club presents an award in her name to skaters who win gold medals in national skating tests.

Her son, Michael, said she “saw figure skating as teaching the most important life lessons. ‘Falling is part of life,’ she would say. ‘You are being judged every day, so always present your best,’ and ‘If you have discipline and are willing to make the effort, your dreams will turn to reality.’ ”

A former Williamsville resident, she met her husband, Edward O. Dee, a regional champion ice dancer, at the Olympic Skating Arena in Lake Placid, where she taught figure skating during the summer for many years.

He served as president and director of the Buffalo Skating Club.

They were married in 1955 and moved to Florida in 1999. He died in 2002.

In addition to her son and her sister, survivors include a daughter, Anne, and four grandchildren.

A celebration of her life was held Aug. 7 in Seminole.