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Lyman Jee

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Lyman Jee Obituary
Lyman Conrad Jee

Lyman Conrad Jee, architect and real estate developer in San Francisco Bay Area, passed away peacefully on Saturday, July 1, 2017 in Berkeley at age 90. Born in Berkeley to Raymond and Helen Jee, he graduated from Berkeley High in 1944. At age 17, he served in the United States Army Air Force from 1945 to 1946 at the end of World War II.

He earned his Bachelor's and Master's Degree of Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley in 1951. Upon graduation, he worked in the prestigious architectural firm of John Carl Warnecke in San Francisco. Lyman then established the architectural firm, Jee and Anderson, with Jack Anderson in 1953.

He quickly received recognition for his modern residential designs that celebrated the unique traits of each site with open floor plans, warm woods and vast expanses of glass that brought in the views of San Francisco Bay. Known for seeking out lots that others would pass over, his ability to find the artful solution is best shown in his beloved home in Berkeley. His name continues to be attached to his work when they are listed for sale.

Lyman pioneered the idea of working closely with skilled custom builders to produce these unique homes. In 1957, he and his partners started Arcon, Inc. to design, develop and operate commercial buildings. Though stepping into the world of real estate development, Lyman never forgot his beginnings as a talented architect, creating unique and memorable banks, offices, and public buildings throughout the West and Hawaii.

By 1970, he had won the groundbreaking and coveted rights to develop the 87-acre Yerba Buena Center business complex for the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency. Seen as the expansion of the crowded downtown and a solution to this blighted area, he spearheaded San Francisco's first conversion of a warehouse into Class A office space, and built several office buildings and a Salvation Army senior housing facility. Lyman kept pace as the political landscape altered the direction of this Redevelopment Area, developing the Hotel Le Meridien (now known as the Park Central Hotel) and the office building at 75 Hawthorne, topped with a glass pyramid.

He is also remembered for his philanthropic efforts, being the first to begin the rebuilding following the Watts race riots of 1964, and the development of Mei Lun Yuen Chinatown Housing – a ground breaking idea that mixed families and seniors with commercial and social services in a single development. Without Lyman's understanding of financing and development, this important work would never have been built.

He will be remembered for his entrepreneurial spirit, his love for architecture, his strong commitment to his profession, and his compassion for his family. Preceded in death by his three siblings Sylvia Won, Cordell Jee, and Arlen Jee, he is survived by his daughters Babette Jee of Berkeley, Lynette Jee (Patrick Uchigakiuchi) of Honolulu, Hawaii, Melissa Hughes (John) of Boston, Massachusetts, and Kim Elizalde (Danny) of Alameda; his son Justin Lyman Jee (Courtney) of Alameda and his five grandchildren Tedmund Uchigakiuchi; Madeleine, Jackson and Alexander Hughes; and Harrison Jee.

A service will be held at Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland on Monday, July 31st at 1:00 pm with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to Self Help for the Elderly in San Francisco and UC Berkeley, College of Environmental Design (CED) Fund, Architecture.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on July 16, 2017
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