THE body of George Lee, Jamaica's first directly elected mayor and first chairman of the Portmore Municipal Council, was returned to the island from Florida yesterday in preparation for funeral service at the end of this week.
Lee, who passed away on September 29 at the family home, will be laid to rest this Thursday, October 17 at Dovecot Memorial Gardens following an official funeral at Power of Faith Ministries in Portmore.
The service will begin at 11:00 am.
At the time of his passing, Lee was serving his second term as mayor of Portmore, having also served as councillor for the Greater Portmore North Division. He was first elected to the mayoral seat in 2003, was ousted by the Jamaica Labour Party's Keith Hinds in 2007, but reclaimed the seat five years later, in March 2012.
Lee grew up in Bath, St Thomas, eventually becoming chairman of the world-famous spa and mineral spring in the 1970s. After school at Bath Primary and Windsor Heights Secondary in east Kingston, he got his first job at the Public Works Department (now National Works Agency), followed by The Gleaner newspaper in the early 1960s. He left for the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation when it offered him three times the earnings. There, he met top journalists like Hector Bernard, Claude Robinson, Desmond Chambers, Keeble McFarlane and Hu Gentles, among others.
The family reported that Lee started feeling severe back pain while on the return flight to Kingston from Germany in July this year. He stopped in Florida and immediately visited a doctor who advised that an operation to repair three broken ribs close to his back was necessary.
After the surgery he was sent home to recuperate, but succumbed to what is believed to have been cancer of the bone.
Lee is survived by wife Aneita, daughter Claudette Lee, and stepsons Rojah and Andrew Teck.