Philbin Comeau Funeral Home in Clinton MA
  176 Water Street  |  Clinton, MA 01510  |  Phone: 978-365-6872


This Book of Memories memorial website is designed to be a permanent tribute paying tribute to the life and memory of Celeste Lee. It allows family and friends a place to re-visit, interact with each other, share and enhance this tribute for future generations. We are both pleased and proud to provide the Book of Memories to the families of our community.

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Obituary for Celeste Benedict Lee (Castillo)

Celeste Benedict  Lee (Castillo)
Celeste Lee – a cherished wife, sister, daughter, and mother, faithful friend, and passionate patient advocate – died at age 51 from the autoimmune disease vasculitis, surrounded by family and friends, both near and far.
Born in Austin, TX on July 26, 1965 Celeste is the daughter of Maryann Nekuda Castillo (Clinton, MA) and David Alfred Castillo, Senior (Soller, Mallorca, Spain). She attended Syracuse University, and earned an interdisciplinary degree in non-profit management and clinical psychology from Lesley University. Her autoimmune disease led to her receiving a life-saving kidney transplant in 1986; the transplant, along with subsequent dialysis and some top-notch medical care, allowed her to live an additional 22 years.
In 1998 a dating site and a prophetic dream led her to her precious husband and partner in life, Shoou-Yih Daniel Lee (Chapel Hill, NC) and to devoted step-motherhood to Jonathan Lee (Detroit, MI). Through the years, the Lee family launched life and career adventures in Chicago, IL; Ann Arbor, MI; and two tours of Chapel Hill/Durham, NC.
In addition to her parents, Celeste is survived by many dearly loved family and friends, including brother David A. Castillo Jr. (Malibu, CA), brothers-in-law Shoou-Ren Lee (Taipei, Taiwan) and Shoou-Chi Lee (Taipei, Taiwan), and nieces Jessica Fan Lee (Taipei, Taiwan), Emma Celeste Castillo (Austin, TX), and Nora Pinkerton Castillo (Carmel, CA), and nephews Charles George Castillo (Arcata, CA) and Joaquin Lee (Taipei, Taiwan), and aunts Leslie Jane Paquin (Dennis, MA) and Freda Sullivan (San Antonio, TX).
Celeste’s energy and spirit has a profound impact on countless individuals who are living with or caring for those with life-altering illness. She committed much of her personal and professional life in the past three decades to helping healthcare providers to partner with patients and families in order to envision a future of patient and family-centered healthcare. She most recently served as faculty member at the Institute for Patient and Family-Centered Care (PFCC), PFCC program manager at the University of Michigan Health System and former Chief of Staff to the President and CEO of Duke University Health System. In addition to these roles, Celeste simultaneously served as patient advisor, peer mentor, and advocate and Board Member of numerous non-profit health organizations, professional societies, government and regulatory agencies. The initiatives she spearheaded aimed to raise awareness and improve the care experiences of patients and especially those living with kidney disease. Her work has been commemorated by a lecture at the International Conference for Patient- and Family-Centered Care; the National Kidney Foundation’s Celeste Castillo Lee Patient Engagement Award; the Celeste Castillo Lee Peer Mentor Award at Michigan Medicine; the American Association of Kidney Patients Medal of Excellence Award; and the Celeste Castillo Lee Endowed Lectureship by the American Society of Nephrology. She was awarded the ‘Big Sister of the Year’ in 1993.
Celeste spread joy everywhere she went and was an unstoppable force for good. She touched those around her with generosity, loyalty, compassion, recollections of silly dreams, music, and funny video links. A fierce cheerleader, neither judging nor enabling, Ce was quick to celebrate others’ achievements and adventures. She spoke passionately, whether it was about her vision for a more effective healthcare system or her favorite pimento cheese. Her insights, memory, and spirit will continue to comfort and nurture those she leaves behind.
Calling hours will be held on Saturday, February 25, 2017 from 9 until 11AM in the Philbin-Comeau Funeral Home, 176 Water St., Clinton, with a Mass of Christian Burial to follow at 11:30AM in St. John the Evangelist Church, 80 Union St., Clinton. Burial will later be held in St. John’s Cemetery, Lancaster. A memorial service at the Sarah B. Duke Gardens at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina will follow. In lieu of flowers, Celeste and her family request contributions to support either the American Society of Nephrology Celeste Castillo Lee endowed lectureship and organizations like Vasculitis Foundation, the National Kidney Foundation, and Renal Support Network. Online condolences may be placed at

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