Obituary: Daniel Eugene Lee
Hip hop music lover, adoring brother, Lakers fan
Sunrise: October 2, 1989; Sunset: March 30, 2019.
Daniel fought to enter this world, as he nearly died at birth. Delivery by way of an emergency C-section at Pomona Valley Hospital left him intubated, with cerebral palsy and complicated health issues, rendering him totally disabled.
He was the third son born to Raymond and Joyce Lee of Pomona. At the age of about six months, he was allowed to live with his paternal aunt and uncle, Pat and Frank Lee, who eventually became his guardians and, later, his conservators. He sometime later preferred to call them mom and dad, rather than aunt and uncle. He was well aware and elated to know that he had two moms and two dads.
He grew up crib-by-crib with his cousin, Quiriana. They were extremely close, only 11 months apart. He always called her his “big sister,” although he was the oldest, and she was very protective of him.
He began his therapy as an infant in the Claremont medical treatment unit at El Camino in Pomona. He transitioned from there to the old Danbury School and went throughout the Claremont Unified School District Special Education Department, graduating from Claremont High School. After graduation, he transitioned to East San Gabriel’s program and then to Bassett High, where he thrived.
Life was never easy for him. As a result of his cerebral palsy, he experienced various health setbacks. He was unable to chew, so in his early years, his food had to be pureed. He would contract pneumonia about twice a year, and it was discovered that, though his food was pureed, when he swallowed, a great amount of it was lodging in his lungs. So, he had to have a feeding tube inserted.
It was soon discovered that he was gaining weight and feeling much better. But even after the feeding tube, he developed respiratory complications and still had bouts of pneumonia and bronchitis, was hospitalized several times and, when not hospitalized, given repeated prescriptions of antibiotics.
“In spite of it all, he had a very loving heart, a bigger-than-life personality, and a winning smile,” his family shared. “Everyone loved his smile. He was always happy. He loved spending time with family and friends, and he loved to party. In fact, he was looking forward to celebrating his 30th birthday in October with a big party.”
He enjoyed learning about God and the Bible. His favorite pastimes were spending time with family and friends; hip hop and rap, particularly Tupac Shakur; the Los Angeles Lakers (retired former Laker Shaquille O’Neal gave him one of his autographed shoes); African-American films; working out at Citrus College Adaptive PE Program; and spending time watching British murder mysteries every week with his dad.
He also loved gossip and being the first to tell you what he “heard.” He liked bowling, going to the movies, and occasional recreation at AbilityFirst, where he’d spent many after school hours.
His mom, Pat, has been an active member of the Claremont Kiwanis. He enjoyed being an occasional guest at their meetings, especially if his mom was going to sing. He would light up when she would sing.
“There is so much to say about Daniel,” his family said. “Although he was nonverbal and had almost no use of his hands, he was smart and intuitive, creating his own personalized sign language that almost anyone could learn after a few days with him. And he loved to talk. And he loved to laugh. He was truly a blessing to anyone who knew him, and lots of folks knew him. Everybody who knew him loved him and he loved everybody. He’d always say that he didn’t feel ‘special’ because he knew that his mind was right. He said when he dreamed, he was always walking and talking; Sometimes he’d even talk in his sleep ‘out loud.’”
“Daniel was ready to collect his wings and fly away, as he did in a peaceful sleep,” his family shared. “His spirit is probably racing through heaven right now, talking and laughing with the angels and asking tons of questions, because he had a curious mind with questions only the angels could answer. Many hearts were broken by his departure.”
He leaves to mourn his mother and father, Joyce and Raymond Lee, of Hemet, California; his mom and dad, Pat and Frank Lee, of Claremont; brothers Raymond Jr., of San Diego, and Charles Lee, of Las Vegas; sister Jamilyn Mallett, of Florida; grandmother Martha Williams, of South Carolina; aunts Pat Brown, Paula Williams, Donna Williams, Angel Williams and Mercedes Williams, of South Carolina; uncle Sites Williams, of South Carolina; sister-cousins Dena Lee and Quiriana Angeles, of Fontana and Claremont; cousin-nieces Jada Bias and Jordyn Lee, of Fontana and Burbank; countless cousins and a host of friends.
Daniel is finally resting in peace and pain free at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Covina.