Obituary: Lillian Lee

Volunteer, political activist


Longtime Claremont resident Margaret Lillian Lee died on May 15, 2017 at Mt. San Antonio Gardens, where she resided. She was 95.

Born July 3, 1921 in Pratt, Kansas, Ms. Lee was the youngest of four children born to William and Bessie Clark. A short time later the family moved to Sherman, Texas, where Ms. Lee grew up, graduating from Sherman High School in 1939.

She met her husband Joe Lee by chance when he was visiting a neighbor. A romance ensued and, in 1948, the young couple moved to Claremont, where they were married. Ms. Lee gave birth to their son, David Lee, in 1950. The Lees were together for 63 years until Joe’s death in 2012.

Active in numerous Claremont organizations, Ms. Lee was well known and liked by locals, her son noted. She was a charter member of Active Claremont, working on various local political campaigns and issues over the years, as well as a volunteer for Shoes That Fit, Meals on Wheels, Adopt A Family At Christmas and the Pilgrim Place Festival.

Ms. Lee was predeceased by her husband Joe Lee. She is survived by her son, David, of Palm Springs, a television writer, producer and director; several nieces and nephews including Martha Gaynor of Sherman, Texas and many dear friends, most notably Jean and John Hart of Claremont.

“She was a lovely, beautiful lady,” said Ms. Hart. “She was very kind and generous. She was always willing to help out someone in need, and when she was able she was very generous with her time.”

Though confined to a wheelchair near the end of her life, Ms. Lee was nonetheless engaged and active, “She still was interested in what was going on and fun to be with,” Ms. Hart recalled. “I miss her greatly.”

No services are planned. In lieu of flowers donations may be made in Ms. Lee’s memory to The Pasadena Playhouse, 600 Playhouse Alley, Suite 300, Pasadena, CA 91101 or at


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