Lee Foundation chairman Lee Seng Gee dies, 95

Mr Lee with his wife Della. Mr Lee took over the chairmanship of the Lee Foundation in 1965, which had been set up by his father, philanthropist Lee Kong Chian, in 1952.
Mr Lee with his wife Della. Mr Lee took over the chairmanship of the Lee Foundation in 1965, which had been set up by his father, philanthropist Lee Kong Chian, in 1952.ST FILE PHOTO

The chairman of the respected Lee Foundation charity, Mr Lee Seng Gee, died at his home at age 95 yesterday, with his wife Della at his side.

Mr Lee, who had been ill for some years, was the eldest son of philanthropist Lee Kong Chian, one of the founders of OCBC Bank.

His maternal grandfather was the rubber tycoon and philanthropist Tan Kah Kee.

Mr Lee's philanthropic efforts earned him the Public Service Star in 1992 and an honorary Doctor of Letters from the National University of Singapore in 2002.

In 2009, he received an honorary Doctor of Letters from Nanyang Technological University for his contribution to education in Singapore and his stewardship of the Lee group of companies.

In his speech, he had said: "I share this love of learning and the importance of education with my late father. We both believe that education has the power to make society more equal for every member of society. Education plays an important role in helping people learn to be responsible members of society."

Mr Lee took over the chairmanship of the Lee Foundation in 1965, which had been set up by his father in 1952.

The Lee Foundation is practically synonymous with philanthropy. Among its donations, it contributed $25 million to the building of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, which opened its doors last year.

In a Facebook post last night, President Tony Tan Keng Yam said Singapore has benefited from Dr Lee's "lifelong contributions" in the business and social sectors.

"Seng Gee's spirit of perseverance, resilience and giving back to the society will continue to be an inspiration to Singaporeans across generations," he wrote.

Mr Lee is survived by his wife, two sons, a daughter and their spouses, and six grandchildren. Mr Lee's youngest brother Lee Seng Wee, the former chairman of OCBC Bank, died in August last year.

The wake will be held at 87 Meyer Road today from noon to midnight, and tomorrow from 9am. The funeral will be held tomorrow at 11am.

Mr Lee's family has asked that well-wishers donate to the Singapore General Hospital, Jamiyah Singapore or Kong Meng San Temple.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2016, with the headline 'Lee Foundation chairman Lee Seng Gee dies, 95'. Print Edition | Subscribe