Lorraine Lee

Tucson native and vocal advocate for people in need, Lorraine Lee, lost an 11-year battle with throat cancer on Oct. 31, 2008. She was 51. For the last 24 years of her vigorous and spirited life, Lee served as executive vice president of Chicanos por la Causa.

The daughter of a man of Chinese ancestry who had grown up in the Phillipines and a Latino mother, Lee delivered memorable oratories at rallies and events in support of the undocumented, the unappreciated and the down-and-out. As the leading Chicanos por la Causa offical in Southern Arizona, she worked tirelessly to provide affordable housing and home ownership opportunities for families in our community of modest means. Lorraine Lee

Lee grew up on Tucson's southside and never forgot her roots. She served her childhood friends and relatives as chair of the TCE Subcommittee of the Pima County Board of Health. This subcommittee represented and advocated for southsiders who were exposed for years to toxic and carcinogenic trichloroethylene in the water delivered to their homes. When she later was striken with cancer, she wondered if her childhood exposure to TCE might have been its cause.

Many boards, commissions and councils were well served over the years with Lee's membership. These included organizations associated with Pima County, the city of Tucson, the University of Arizona, the state of Arizona, the federal government and several charities.

Lee's dedication and consistent activism for justice and social causes, particularly on behalf of the area's Latino and Asian communities, earned her tremendous community respect and national recognition. She was the recipient of numerous awards and honors for both her activism and her professional accomplishments.

Bilingual and tricultural, Lee earned a degree from the University of Arizona and went on to earn a graduate degree from the University of California at Los Angeles.

In addtion to her career and her activism, and despite her long and courageous battle against her fatal disease, Lee also was a beloved wife, a devoted mother of three girls, and an involved member of a large extended family.

Our loss of Lorraine Lee leaves this community with heavy hearts and an aching void.

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Supervisor Richard Elías

Pima County, Arizona
District 5

130 W. Congress St. 11th Fl.
Tucson, AZ 85701

Phone: (520) 724-8126
Fax: (520) 884-1152


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