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Robert Y. Lee

1929 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Robert Y. Lee Obituary
Lee, Robert Y.

Robert (Bob) Lee, 86, passed away on June 13, 2016 with his wife and family by his side.

Born in Moscow, Idaho on September 23, 1929 to Keep Sang and Poon Wong Lee, he was the youngest of six children. In 1932 his parents and their three youngest children took "a slow boat to China" aboard the President Grant and settled in Nanking where his father built two apartment houses, a couple shops and a church. When Japan bombed mainland China in 1936, his dad sent Bob and a sister, Cora, by themselves to the United States aboard the President Grant to live with their sister, Marie and her husband, Mi. Cora was only 13 and Bob turned 7 on the ship.

Because Bob could not speak nor understand English, he was placed in first grade. With high math acuity he was moved to second grade within a month, and onto third grade soon after. He graduated from high school in 1947 and enrolled at Washington State University, graduating in 1951 with a Bachelor's degree in Pharmacy.

He married the love of his life, Clara Huie, on February 4, 1951 during spring break of his senior year. He joined the Air Force and was stationed in Albuquerque at Kirtland Air Force Base where he served as a pharmacist and also found evening work at a local pharmacy, West Side Drug. His commanding officer suggested he apply for Officer Candidate School. He was accepted and moved to San Antonio for training. He was transferred to Lowry Air Force Base in Denver to serve in the base hospital as the pharmacy, preventive medicine and hospital mess officer. He was discharged as a First Lieutenant in 1956 and it took three officers to replace him. During his five years in the service, they were blessed with three children.

The family moved back to Albuquerque and Bob was hired at Case Rexall Drug. Within a year he purchased the pharmacy, relocated and renamed it Lee Rexall Drug and later Lee's Pharmacy. He also became a partner in a convenience "7 to 11" store. This was subsequently converted, along with the pharmacy building and a new partner, to a medical clinic, North Fourth Clinic, with the pharmacy on site. Bob was very active in the pharmaceutical association and received the Ernie Welch Award.

Bob had many passions. He played the violin and was the concert master in high school. He learned to be a short order cook from his brother-in-law, Mi and made the best breaded pork cutlets, rolls, coconut cream and lemon pies. He was an avid golfer and bowler. RV'ers since 1987, they served as travelcade leaders and rendezvous directors. He co-founded the Chinese American Citizen's Alliance and was an initial board member of Rio Grande Valley Bank.

Bob was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Marie Lew and Shanyi Balogh; brothers, David and Sammy; and grandson, Andrew Lee.

He is survived by his wife, Clara; sister, Cora Au of Honolulu, Hawaii; sons, Steven (Judy) of Albuquerque and David (Sandra) of Denver, Colorado; and daughter Debbie (J.R.) of Albuquerque. He is further survived by nine grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 25, 2016, at 11 a.m. at Paradise Hills United Methodist Church, 4700 Paradise Blvd. NW, Albuquerque, NM.

The family wishes to thank the incredibly loving and caring staff at Gentiva Hospice.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Paradise Hills United Methodist Church or Gentiva Hospice Inpatient, 601 Dr. Martin Luther King Ave. NE, Albuquerque, NM. Please visit our online guestbook for Bob at

Published in Albuquerque Journal on June 17, 2016
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