WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – The 100-year-old Lee's Funeral Home received the "Legacy Award" Thursday from the White Plains Juneteenth Heritage Committee during its third annual awards gala at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel In Tarrytown.
Celebrating its 100th anniversary, Lee’s Funeral Home, LLC was established in 1915, in White Plains by Theodore Jay Lee Sr. Lee actually began his funeral service career before 1915, in partnership with other gentlemen, in a post-slavery, Jim Crow era, out of need to serve the otherwise unserved African-American community.
Lee was the only one of his partners to graduate mortuary school, one of two African-Americans in his class and the only partner qualified to own a business. He met and married Mattie Lee, who went on to help him in his businesses, which also included notary, real estate, bail bondsmen and more.
They had one child, Theodore Jay Lee Jr. He was a White Plains High School graduate, attended New York University, served in the U.S. Army and graduated mortuary school to begin the second generation working in the business. He married JoAnne Lee of Peekskill. She also graduated from mortuary school and joined him in the business. They had two children, Jennifer and T.J. Lee III, both White Plains High School graduates.
T.J., who attended Boston University and Westchester Community College, now works in the business as facilities manager. Jennifer graduated from the University of Virginia with two bachelor’s degrees then from mortuary school and is funeral director and manager.
Once established as Lee’s Funeral Home in 1915, the business has operated at a few different locations throughout the years but always remained in White Plains.
For more information about Lee’s Funeral Home, click here .
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