J. Wayne Lee, 81, property manager

Posted: January 18, 2014

J. Wayne Lee, 81, a Philadelphia commercial property manager who was a member of a venerable American family, died Thursday, Jan. 9, of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at the Hill at Whitemarsh, Lafayette Hill.

Mr. Lee had moved to the retirement facility in 2007 after living in Chestnut Hill for more than 40 years.

A Philadelphia native, Mr. Lee was the son of P. Blair Lee, a Philadelphia banker who mirrored the family's commitment to public service through active volunteer work.

The first of Mr. Lee's ancestors to visit Philadelphia was Richard Henry Lee, the Virginia statesman who in June 1776 during the Second Continental Congress first called for the American colonies to split from Britain.

Richard Henry Lee signed the Articles of Confederation and the Declaration of Independence, and served a year as president of the Continental Congress.

Public service was a Lee family tradition, son J. Wayne Jr. said. At one point, Mr. Lee was on 11 boards of directors in Philadelphia, raised money for Princeton University, and later "was the first to sign up for volunteer service at the Hill at Whitemarsh."

"My grandfather instilled that in him," J. Wayne Jr. said of his father's civic involvement.

Mr. Lee attended Chestnut Hill Academy and graduated from the Pomfret School and the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.  

 He served in the Army's transportation corps, attaining the rank of captain, before moving to Maryland to do graduate study in agriculture at the University of Maryland. He briefly worked for an uncle, Col. E. Brook Lee, owner of a large cattle and real estate operation.

In 1957, Mr. Lee married the former Anne Dulany of Washington. Three years later, the two moved to Philadelphia, where he worked as a real estate agent for Acme Markets. He later managed properties for Cynwyd Investments in Bala Cynwyd.

Mr. Lee rounded out his career as a vice president for Jackson-Cross Co., managing several Center City office buildings. He served as president of the Building Owners and Managers Association of Philadelphia.

Mr. Lee was an avid amateur ice hockey player and member of the Wissahickon Skating Club, serving on its board for more than four decades. As president, he oversaw improvements to the club's programs and facility. More recently, he served on volunteer committees at the Hill at Whitemarsh.

"He loved it," his son said. "He was very good at it. Since he died, people have said they will miss his expertise and insight."

Surviving, besides his wife and son, are another son, Henry R.; a daughter, Anne Lee Lohr; two sisters; and three grandchildren.

Services will be at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 17, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 22 E. Chestnut Hill Ave., followed by a reception at the Philadelphia Cricket Club in Chestnut Hill.

Donations may be made to Friends of Acadia, 43 Cottage St., No. D, Bar Harbor, Maine 04609.



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