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Don Lee Memorial Services Announced

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Don Lee

The family and Homecrest community services have announced memorial services for Don Lee who passed away suddenly while on vacation. The family has requested donations be sent to HomeCrest Community services in lieu of flowers.

Memorial Service schedule


Visitation: Sunday, May 19th, 12pm-4pm, Wan Shou/Aievoli Funeral Home 萬壽殯儀館 (1275 65th St, Brooklyn, NY 11219)


Memorial Service: Wednesday May 22nd, 2:00pm, Trinity Church Wall Street (76 Broadway, New York, NY 10006). A reception will follow at Trinity Commons Parish Hall at 3:00pm.

Here is an obituary posted by Homecrest.

Don Lee was born in Hong Kong in 1959. He immigrated to New York City at age 10 and grew up in Manhattan’s Chinatown, attending P.S.130 and Seward Park High School. He graduated from New York University, where he met his wife, Lai. Throughout college, he cooked at Hop Lee restaurant in Chinatown to support himself.

His professional career began after university as a public servant for the City of New York, where he worked under four different mayoral administrations. Notable accomplishments at the City included automating operations for the Mayor’s Office, creating a new management system for the Fulton Fish Market, and vastly increasing small and medium business access to city contracts through automating a Bid-Match Program for the Department of Business Services. From there, Don’s work in IT extended to healthcare, serving as Chief Information Officer for the South Manhattan Healthcare Network. He transformed the IT systems of Bellevue Hospital Center and other significant institutions in the network, improving service to thousands of users across the facilities. His critical work in healthcare IT included work for the Coalition of Asian American IPA, Inc.

But beyond his professional work in supporting communities across New York, at the core of Don’s passion was his community activism. Throughout his entire life, he was passionate about advocating for the dignity and rights of Asian Americans, from always standing up for himself, his family, and his friends, to advocating on wider scales for justice. Beginning with service on his local community board, his activism spring-boarded through his protests for transportation access for Asian American communities during the Grand Street Subway closure in 1995. During 9/11, he worked to raise support for Chinatown businesses in the wake of the tragedy, and served as a liaison in connecting local businesses with FEMA. His activist work since then is too numerous to detail in full, but a particularly significant victory was changing the law to support Chinatown street vendors to receive licenses and fight against unfair treatment.

Don’s passion for Asian American representation and Chinese cooking also took the form of his historical research into the diets of Chinese Transcontinental Railroad workers. He spent months conducting primary source research into the subject, culminating in a cooking demonstration that he proudly presented multiple times at Railroad commemorations around the country, including its 150th anniversary in Ogden, Utah.

Recently, during the COVID pandemic, Don was tireless in fighting against Anti-Asian hate, working to ensure that hate crimes against Asians were named and prosecuted accordingly. Even more recently, Don was working with the Ong brothers to demand justice for the family. Up until his very last days, he was on the phone trying to support the family.

Underlying all of these professional and activist endeavors was his leadership at Homecrest Community Services, a non-profit organization serving immigrant seniors and their families in South Brooklyn. Taking over from its founders, he served as the organization’s Board Chair for over 20 years. Homecrest was his pride and joy, and he worked tirelessly to provide services and advocate for the rights of disadvantaged communities, from setting up health fairs, to leading rallies, to delivering hot meals to members during the COVID pandemic. Under his leadership, he established three centers that covered a wide area of South Brooklyn. His further accomplishments at Homecrest are too numerous to name here, and his work has had impact on countless families and individuals.

On May 6th, 2024, while on vacation to South America, he experienced a sudden serious illness, and unfortunately passed away. Although he has gone too soon, his legacy in advocating for the rights of Asian American communities – and encouraging Asian Americans to speak up for themselves, to be proud of their identity and their heritage – will live on in all of us whose lives he touched so meaningfully. His life should encourage us all to follow in his footsteps and take action against injustice when we see it.


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