Palo Alto Online - Lasting Memories - June E Lee's memorial

June E Lee
Aug. 6, 1922-Aug. 26, 2014
Seattle, Washington

June was born and raised in the International District of Seattle, Washington. June's family ran a store and restaurant catering to Americans and hosted banquets for the Chinese community. In 1933, June, then 11, and her mom accompanied her dad to China where he soon after passed away. There she met her two older sisters. In 1941, her mother bought a five-bedroom home on Seattle's Beacon Hill. The house remained a beloved center of the growing clan. From her mother June learned to be 'sensible,' strong and independent.

June attended Linfield College and graduated from the University of Washington in Sociology in 1940. After college, she and her girlfriends moved to San Francisco and lived at the Chinatown YWCA where she made more friends who all remained close until her death. While working at Gump's in San Francisco, she met her husband Dan Lee. They were married in 1949 and had two children Debbie (born 1954) and Stuart (born 1963). Dan had several jobs including drafting and graphic arts. While working as a graphic artist at Kan's Restaurant in San Francisco he was offered a job to manage Ming's Restaurant on El Camino Real in Palo Alto. The family moved from San Francisco to Palo Alto in 1956. In 1967, Ming's relocated to a new building on Embarcadero Road. For over 20 years June created the Ginger Sauce for sundaes and did the flower arrangements for Ming's. In 1966 they bought a house on Dana Avenue. Dan and June eventually divorced in 1972.

In 1967 she joined the First Baptist Church of Palo Alto and as a member, she traveled to Nicaragua and worked with Afghan refugees, farm workers and the homeless. June had a deep love for Saratoga's Hakone Gardens as it was in the care of and revitalized by a partnership of friends. Throughout her lifetime, June had the opportunity to take many trips to Seattle, Hawaii, New York, Yosemite, Tahoe, Europe and China and throughout the rest of the United States. On a 1982 trip to China, she reconnected with her oldest sister for the first time since she met her at age 11. June arranged for her sister to visit the U.S. in 1984 where she also had a cataract operation that revived her sister's sight. June studied Japanese flower arranging and was active with the local Ikebana community. She played golf and skied with pride until the age of 86 as a member of the Fountain Valley Ski Club. For the last 20 years, she was a healthy and active resident of Channing House. She was a voracious reader, generous to charities, a lover of current events, a keeper of her daughter's garden, and dedicated to naturopathic healing and good food.

June is survived by her children, Debbie (Bill) and Stuart (Kristen); grandchildren, Araceli, Lorenzo and Natasha; and over 80 members of her extended family in Seattle, the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Fresno, Boston and New York. She had been the matriarch of the Eng family and last remaining sibling of her brother and four sisters.

Tags: public service

0 entries Submit a remembrance
Memorial service
A memorial celebration will be held at the First Baptist Church of Palo Alto, 305 North California Ave., Palo Alto on Sunday, Sept. 7, at 2 p.m.
Make a donation
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in June Lee's name can be sent to the Chinese Historical Society; or Hakone Gardens; or Ecumenical Hunger Program,

About this site     Contact us