Carew C. Lee, former Mount Vernon Ladies' Association regent, dies

Carew C. Lee chaired the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association's  development committee and had been president of the Mount Vernon Inn restaurant-and-retail complex.
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Carew C. Lee, who had worked in real estate sales and was a former regent of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, died Saturday of Alzheimer’s disease at Symphony Manor in Roland Park. She was 87.

The former Jane Carew Cotton, who was the daughter of Henry Kyd Douglas Cotton, founder and president of Barton-Cotton, a Baltimore printing company, and Jane Reifsnider Cotton, a homemaker, was born and raised in Roland Park.


She was a 1949 graduate of the Bryn Mawr School and earned a bachelor’s degree in 1951 from Bennett College in Greensboro, N.C.

In 1954, she married John Hubner Rice Jr. and raised their three sons in Roland Park. After her marriage ended in divorce, she earned her real estate license and became a top producer for the old Hill & Co. from 1976 to 1985.


From 1972 to 2006, Mrs. Lee was vice regent for Maryland at the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. While with the association, she met and fell in love with Robert E. Lee IV — a direct descendant of Civil War. Gen. Robert E. Lee and Martha Washington — who was a member of the Mount Vernon Advisory Committee.

The couple married in 1986.

Mrs. Lee chaired the association’s development committee and had been president of the Mount Vernon Inn restaurant-and-retail complex. She also organized and established many fundraisers, including “An Auction, by George!” and the First Ladies Lecture Series.

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After her election as regent in 1996, she presided over the expansion of the Mount Vernon Inn complex, restoration of the servants’ quarters and fruit gardens, renovation of the museum, and the founding of the annual 18th century handmade crafts.

Mrs. Lee, a Bethesda resident until moving to Symphony Manor in 2015, led the “To Keep Him First Campaign,” which raised money for educating the public about the nation’s first president.

She stepped down as regent in 1999 and resumed her position as vice regent for Maryland until retiring in 2006.

Mrs. Lee had been a founding member of the Women’s Committee of the Walters Art Museum and had served on the board of the Johns Hopkins Women’s Committee.

An avid tennis player and doubles tournament winner, Mrs. Lee was a member of The Elkridge Club, the Chevy Chase Club and the Christmas Cove (Maine) Club.


A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St., Baltimore.

In addition to her husband of 34 years, Mrs. Lee is survived by two sons, John Hubner Rice III of Roland Park and Henry Kyd Douglas Rice of Severna Park; a sister, Nancy Cotton Swindell of Towson; and eight grandchildren. Another son, Richard Carew Rice, died in 2013.