James Russell Lees (Russ), 64 years old, passed away on January 4th 2022, in Montréal, Québec, Canada.

Russ was born to parents Jay Lees (known as Grandpa Bumps) and Patrica Lees (known as Poppy) in Salt Lake City, Utah.

As a fourteen year old, he was exposed to culture due to his father, who managed to get an entire family of six to France for a year. It was there that Russ learned French and developed a love for travel.

As a teen, he left Salt Lake City to pursue engineering at Boston University and went on to Stanford University before entering the working world. Upon entering the working world, he quickly realized he didn’t like engineering and chose to pursue playwriting. While in the theatrical space he had many adventures all over the world. He studied plays in London, helped direct, acted, and spent lots of time writing in cafés. Eventually he went back to Boston University to get his master’s in playwriting.

The “golden age of Russ” as he called it, was when his play about Richard Nixon, “Nixon’s Nixon”, took off and toured around the world. It won a First in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival which allowed him to take it to London and New York.

His second golden age was when his daughters were born and he got to achieve his dream of being a father.

He was an excellent father who gave his love to his daughters freely and unconditionally. His daughters always, always had fun with him. He was incredibly smart and helped his daughters with homework frequently. He was the funniest person in the room, always making quips and jokes. Russ made sure to bring his daughters to many plays whenever he could and Charlotte was lucky enough to see “Nixon’s Nixon” in person with him. He was the best Dad anyone could ask for and he will be dearly missed.

Russ spent the last 13 years working at Ubisoft Montreal, a video game developer. He was a writer/narrative designer and part of the Assassin's Creed and Far Cry franchises. He brought passion, dedication, and collaboration to all of his Ubisoft projects.

In the two weeks before his death he was surrounded by his family for the holidays and enjoyed a magical Christmas spending time with his wife and daughters. He read to his youngest, Madeleine, in French every night before they went to bed. Russ was relaxed and happy during his holiday break.

The night he passed he had a lovely meal with his daughter, Charlotte, and watched a Jazz basketball game (his favourite team) while eating pistachio ice cream. The Jazz won.

He is survived by his loving wife, Lisa Lees, and daughters, Charlotte and Madeleine Lees. He will be held in our hearts forever.

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