Hee Kwan Lee was born in Korea on December 8, 1927 and passed away on December 1, 2012 at the age of 84 in Laguna Woods, California. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Commerce from Yonsei University in 1952. During the Korean War, Dr. Lee served in the military police. In 1963-1964, Dr. Lee was chief of the combined police and the fire departments for the city of Seoul.
He came to the U.S. for further education, receiving two masters degrees in Social Science and Criminal Justice from Michigan State University in 1965 and 1968 respectively. He received his doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of Minnesota in 1981.
Dr. Lee worked for the Minnesota Department of Corrections in several positions, including Accreditation Administrator. He was awarded a Certificate of Commendation by the Governor for 26 years of distinguished service.
When South Korea hosted the 1988 Summer Olympics, the mascot was a Siberian tiger, Hodori. The Siberian tiger had long been a symbol of Korean identity, but had vanished from the Korean peninsula. In time for the Olympics, Dr. Lee was instrumental in orchestrating the return of Siberian tigers to Korean soil through U.S. based donations.
He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Ock Hee Lee; his three children, Philip, Chon, and Margaret; and five grandchildren, Soo Jin, Warren, Tom, Juliana and Elsa. He will be remembered fondly for his integrity, idealism, and devotion to his family.