Lee Emerson

May 27, 1917November 15, 2011

CLAUDIUS LEE EMERSON, JR. May 27, 1917 – November 15, 2011

Claudius Lee Emerson, Jr., full of years and accomplishments and a longtime resident of Piedmont, California, died of natural causes in Auburn, California on November 15, 2011, at the age of 94. He was born May 27, 1917 in San Jacinto, California to Claudius Lee and Zelma Schultz Emerson at his parent’s home. He was the youngest of five children. He leaves his loving wife Muriel, married 71 years, now residing in Roseville, California; two daughters, Susan Emerson Clark and husband Dr. Daniel Clark of Auburn, California, and Barbara Emerson Field and husband Sidney Field, of Ashland, Oregon; five grandchildren, Mary Jane (Eric) Morrison; Mark Field (Caryn Craig); Bill (Rachel) Clark, Steve Clark, David Clark (Abigail Morgan) and nine great-grandchildren. He is a graduate of Hemet High School, California and UC Berkeley class of 1938, majoring in Political Science. While in his Junior year, he had a call from home saying “no more money for school, you are on your own”. His parents lost their business during The Depression. Lee found a job working for the Daily Cal during the day writing sports articles and in the evening he returned to answer phones. He worked for the Berkeley Gazette collecting money for advertisements which required him to buy his first car for $16. Lee met his future wife at Cal, Muriel Stoll, at a Fraternity/Sorority dinner exchange followed by a dance. They attended other dances together including Lee’s fraternity initiation dance. Lee had his fraternity pin a matter of hours before giving it to Muriel. His fraternity brothers teased him for not keeping his pin for at least a few weeks. Even though, he was still elected President of his fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi. Lee and Muriel were married June 8, 1940, in Berkeley, California. Lee worked at Montgomery Ward and then read blue prints at the Kaiser Shipyards in Richmond, California. He later worked at Kaiser Steel, eventually serving as executive Vice President and then President of Kaiser Resources until his retirement at age 55. Lee soon joined the company of Gilmore Steel and later became the company’s President and CEO. The company went public under his leadership and was renamed Oregon Steel Mills. He worked happily for many years until his full retirement in his mid 80’s. Lee was an avid tennis player and golfer and spent many hours in his garden. Lee was involved with numerous community organizations. He was active all his life with the Boy Scouts, and a member and past president of the 100 Club which supports the Boys and Girls Clubs of Oakland. In addition, Lee was president of the World Trade Club and the Pacific Union Club of San Francisco, and President of the Claremont Country Club, in Oakland, CA. He served as board chairman of Peralta Hospital and chair of the Lawrence Hall of Science. Lee helped organize a campaign for a very successful passage of bonds for Piedmont Schools and was honored as Marshall for the Piedmont July 4th parade for all his hard work. He was instrumental in bringing back to Piedmont High School the bagpipe band. He served as a trustee for Piedmont Community Church. The Bay Area Tumor Institute honored Lee as “the Man of the Year” in the mid 1980’s. A cause very close to his heart has always been the League to Save Lake Tahoe which he co-founded in 1966. He was recently noted in a newsletter, “as an ordinary man who became an extraordinary leader”. Lee will be fondly remembered as a visionary, a man of his word, a man of principle who had a strong belief in our country and core values. His love of his family and selfless dedication to all causes and organizations in which he was involved was his hallmark. He always strived to make his community a better place. A memorial service to celebrate his life will be at 1:00pm on December 1, 2011 at Piedmont Community Church, with a reception to follow at the Claremont Country Club. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be given in his honor to The Boy Scouts of America, The League to Save Lake Tahoe, or a charity of your choice. Arrangements under the direction of Chapel of the Hills, Auburn, CA.



  • Memorial Service Thursday, December 1, 2011


  • Reception

Lee Emerson

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November 17, 2011

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Rich Santana