Kyuhwan Francis Lee M.D., Ph.D.

March 1, 1929May 12, 2018
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Dr. Kyuhwan Francis Lee, M.D., Ph.D., 89, of Houston Texas passed away on May 12, 2018 at Memorial Hermann Hospital, S.W. from a stroke. He was born March 1, 1929, the son of Chung Ki Lee and Sook Ja Shin. Dr. Lee is survived by his devoted wife of 64 years, Dr. Yongok Eugenia Lee, four daughters, son, and seven grandchildren.

Dr. Lee was a loving husband, devoted father, brilliant medical researcher, and tireless leader in the Korean Community. Dr. Lee earned his medical degree from Severance Medical School in 1951 and his Ph.D. from Yonsei University in1963 in Seoul, Korea. A medical pioneer, he opened the first Korean cancer center at Yonsei University. He then permanently immigrated to the U.S. in 1963. Over his 40-year medical career, Dr. Lee was Professor Emeritus at Thomas Jefferson Medical School in Philadelphia and the Head of Neuroradiology at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston. He published hundreds of medical articles, including in JAMA and The New England Journal of Medicine, the most respected medical journals in the world. He contributed to countless books. The Head of the National Institute of Health (NIH) was so impressed with Dr. Lee’s book on Empty Sella Syndrome that he volunteered to write the Forward for it. Among many medical awards, Dr. Lee was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Medicine & Physiology in 1979.

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush awarded Dr. Lee with the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States for his work with the Korean Community in America. Among many achievements, Dr. Lee formed, and was the first president of the Korean American Association of Greater Philadelphia (KAAGP). He raised the necessary money to buy the 1st Korean Catholic Church in Philadelphia. He later relocated to Houston where he promptly helped raise funds for the gymnasium at St. Andrew Kim’s Korean Catholic Church. In 2002, Dr. Lee turned his efforts to serving the needs of seniors. He obtained all the necessary building and zoning permits and spearheaded a fundraising campaign that raised over $2 million (donating $170,000 to the program himself). He then managed the construction of the Korean Senior Center and served as a non-paid president for 10 years. The senior center is now open five days a week, provides lunch and a place for seniors to connect and socialize. It also offers classes in art, English, music, exercise, Bible, political discussions and line dancing. In 2008, the Korean government awarded Dr. Lee with its highest National Meritorious Award for Service (Kook Ga Yoo Kong Jae), for his military work and for work for the Korean community in America.

Dr. Kyuhwan Francis Lee, a loving husband and father, brilliant researcher, and caring leader of the Korean community will be missed. However, his impact on the world will be enjoyed for generations.


  • Yongok E. Lee MD, Wife
  • Alice Lee and Deane Yang, PhD, Daughter
  • Stephen Yang, Grandson
  • Nicholas Yang, Grandson
  • Janet Lee-Crawford and John Crawford, Daughter
  • Cecilia "Songy" and Tom Calcagnini, Daughter
  • Camille Calcagnini, Granddaughter
  • Florence and Andrew Murray, Daughter
  • William Murray, Grandson
  • Annabel Murray, Granddaughter
  • Joseph Lee, MD and Jeannine Lee, Son
  • Jake Lee, Grandson
  • Josh Lee, Grandson

  • Joseph Lee
  • Tom Calcagnini
  • John Crawford
  • Stephen Yang
  • Nicholas Yang
  • Kim Jong Duck (Godchild)


  • Visitation Monday, May 14, 2018
  • Rosary Service Monday, May 14, 2018
  • Funeral Mass Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Kyuhwan Francis Lee M.D., Ph.D.

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Hyungsuk & Seung Choi

May 17, 2018

First, I met him at a Thanksgiving dinner table, I just remember him as a healthy old man with such a brightness.

Most recently, I saw him at my office when he brought his grand children. He was very generous, loving grandfather.

At that time, I could not imagine how great he had been. A little researches about him were enough to shock me.

I found out many articles about him in various ways, some from United States and some from Korea.

They all talk about his loyalty to Korea and his practices for love for Korean people, especially immigrants.

He saved so many Korean soldiers from death during Korean war, seeing 200 soldiers a day, saving lives with his hand-made devices.

It was quite surprising that the role of such a man was not well known in this generation.

Since he immigrated to US, he had devoted himself helping Korean people settle in this foreign country and became a regardful leader of Korean community.

I was also very surprised by his academic careers, he was even nominated as Novel medical prize.

I did not even imagine that the old man in front of me at the Thanksgiving dinner table was so great scholar.

Most of all, I can understand why he insisted to stay in Houston, Texas. He had been working there in numerous ways, and that was his mission and wish.

I would like to personally appreciate him for the efforts for Korean people during Korean war and Korean immigrants. I can feel his love and loyalty to not only Koreans but all human.

I believe that his mission on earth was loving and saving people around him and he completed it wonderfully. I respect and miss him.