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Robert E. Lee


1929 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
Robert E. Lee Obituary
May 28, 1929 - July 30, 2015 Robert Earl Lee was born in Tacoma, Washington on May 28, 1929, to Earl Edward Lee and Bernice Louise Hughes. He passed away peacefully on July 30, 2015 in Seattle, surrounded by friends, family and wife by his side. He is survived by his wife Torill, children: Katherine (Larry), Michael (Teresa), Robin (Jeffrey), Carol (Kent); grandchildren: Aaron, Amanda, David, Nicholas, Brooke, Matthew, Yared, Bilen, Douglas, Tyler and Landon and ten great grandchildren. Bob graduated from Lincoln High School in Tacoma in 1947. He received his degree in Business Administration from the University of Washington where he was also President of Theta Delta Chi Fraternity. He graduated, and married Phyllis E. Isted the same day on June 9, 1951. Bob entered the United States Marine Corps in 1952 and soon left for the Korean conflict. Serving as a platoon commander, Second Lieutenant Lee was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and authorized to wear the Combat "V" for exceptional Valor on the battlefield. Among other notations his Citation read "With complete disregard for his personal safety he consistently exposed himself to small arms and mortar fire to direct the members of his command and to supervise the evacuation of the wounded". Bob spent his entire work life in the life insurance industry, where he is recognized as an innovator and visionary. His remarkable career spanned over 60 years, beginning in 1954 and remaining actively involved through 2015. He opened his first general agency in Seattle in 1960. His success enabled him to open and acquire insurance agencies throughout the western United States and Asia during the 1970s and 1980s. He was the top producer for Crown Life and Sun Life of Canada for much of his career. He was a founding Partner and Chairman of the R.E. Lee Group which became the largest wholesale distributor of life insurance in the United States. He is fondly remembered for the R. E. Lee sales conventions he held around the world for employees, key producers and their spouses. He opened his first office overseas in Hong Kong 1979. In the late 1990s, he pioneered the development of offshore life insurance expanding his firm's operations worldwide and opening new markets for international insurance companies and financial institutions. His policyholders reside in over seventy countries. He was charming, charismatic and respected for his loyalty, generosity and trust in business. He owned the Alexis Restaurant in San Francisco for nearly two decades from 1972 to the late 1980s where he entertained colleagues and clients. For 25 years he hosted the Seafair Special Peoples Christmas Cruise on the Wanigan III and Alexis. Bob enjoyed all sports. In high school he was an all-state quarterback in football and a pitcher and third baseman in baseball. He played football briefly at the University of Washington. He was an avid golfer. He held memberships at Tacoma Golf Club, Broadmoor Golf Club and the Seattle Yacht Club. He also held golf memberships at Discovery Bay in Hong Kong and Sun Hills and Eagle Point in Japan. Bob was also a tremendous supporter of the Evans Scholarship. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be sent to: Evans Scholars Foundation, One Briar Road, Golf, IL 60029 or made on the website at www.wgaesf.org. A memorial to celebrate his life will be held at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle on Saturday, September 19th at 2PM. He was a remarkable man and will be deeply missed.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Aug. 15 to Aug. 17, 2015
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