OBITUARY

Anthony Boon Pong Lee

February 12, 1948November 12, 2020

Anthony Boon Pong Lee was born on February 12, 1948 and passed away on November 12, 2020 and is under the care of Evergreen Washelli Funeral Home.

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Memories

Anthony Boon Pong Lee

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Angie Bartels

November 21, 2020

I sit in our living room and look at the space where your bed once stood. The room feels empty without your things, without your presence and your breath. My brother placed a large object on the recliner you once inhabited. Each time I glanced in that direction, I thought it was you, that you were back with me, that none of this ever happened. I had to move the object to keep myself from going crazy. Your final months were so difficult. Every morning when Moses or Caesar lifted you out of bed and placed you in your chair, the look of anguish on your face worried me so. I tried to ease the suffering but so often fell short. I ached for you then and I ache for you now. You have been released to the Universe my love. Rest in peace and grace. You join the many loved ones that now have become a memory, another love I carry in my heart forever. No wonder my heart feels so heavy. Yours always, Angie

John Baroni

November 19, 2020

If tears could build an stair way and memories a lane ,I will walk up to heaven and bring you home again .
Tony lee was the nicest person that I have met in my life and he was like a brother to me ,I always say your name and remember you .
Rest In Peace tony
Love John Afshin

Donald Elliott

November 17, 2020

A MEMORY OF ANTHONY LEE
A few years ago, I played soccer on a soccer team. The team had a mix of athletic abilities among the soccer players. Tony Lee was one of the best soccer players. One fall evening, our team played another team in the men’s over-40 league in Seattle. Tony played right forward, a position for a skilled player who has the ability to score a goal. I played right midfielder, adjacent to Tony.
At one point in the game, Tony had the soccer ball in the area of the field immediately in front of the goal and he was guarded by only one defender. Instead of dribbling the soccer ball evasively to free himself for a shot on the goal, Tony made a short 10-yard pass to me so that I could take a shot on the goal. Now, some skillful soccer players are reluctant to make a selfless pass of this kind and let another player score a goal and take all the accolades. Not Tony!
Sometimes, a person reveals their character by the style with which they play a team sport. For Tony, his style of play revealed a generous nature. So, I will remember him as a generous person. Today, the world needs more generous people, not less.

John Mitchell

November 16, 2020

Happy Trails to my dear friend Anthony from his friend and
Vagabond Forever
John Mitchell

Biography

Tony Lee, 72, passed away at his home in Seattle, WA, due to complications of ALS. Tony was born February 12, 1948, in Swatow, China. He was the ninth of ten children born to Chang Pei Yu Lee (mother) and Wai Lee (father). The family fled to Hong Kong in 1949 during the Communist takeover of China. His family scraped together enough money to emigrate to Sao Paolo, Brazil, in 1953-54. Tony and his family learned to speak Portuguese as the children attended public school and played with the children of their neighborhood in the streets of Sao Paolo. At that time, the US imposed quotas on Chinese immigrants so they were unable to emigrate directly to the United States. Tony came to Seattle in 1959 with his brother Joe and sister Cecilia. They lived with their big sister Anna and brother-in-law Mike Chen, who was an engineer at Boeing. Tony had studied English for only one year when he entered Hamilton Middle School. He loved to play basketball and tennis with his friends at Hamilton and Lincoln High School, friends he has to this day. Tony graduated Lincoln High in 1965 and was awarded a full scholarship to Harvard. He moved to the Harvard dorms in Boston and started freshman year as a math major but later changed to political science. At Harvard Tony met three of his dearest and life long friends Larry, Hsiung and Chris. The four roomed together in Lowell House and for many, many years thereafter, they shared stories of their time at Harvard.
After graduation from Harvard in 1969, Tony returned home to Seattle and was accepted to the University of Washington School of Law. He had clerked for a legislative committee in Olympia and it is there he got his first taste of policy and advocacy. Upon graduation from law school, Tony went to work for Evergreen Legal Services representing people in their cases for state benefits against DSHS. Tony was asked by the director of ELS to do lobbying in Olympia on behalf of the clients he and other attorneys in his office were representing. Tony accepted this position and hit his stride.
It wasn't long before Tony became a beloved and trusted champion and advocate of low-income people in the state legislature. He went on to work 40+ years as an advocate on policies and legislation related to social justice for all Washingtonians, particularly low-income residents on Medicaid, TANF, and ABD/HEN, Asian Pacific Islanders, immigrants, prisoners and previously incarcerated people, farmworkers, K-12 education equity, jobs initiatives, housing and many, many other issues in the City of Seattle, King County and State of Washington. Tony always devoted his time and attention to those most in need and he never tired of the work. He was brilliant, energetic, charismatic, fiercely loyal and devoted to those he worked for, and his family and friends. Tony has worked with and won the admiration of hundreds of young people developing their careers in the field of service to others. He worked with hundreds of colleagues and humbly took his place on boards and committees, always willing to share his knowledge and skills but never seeking attention for himself. Tony won numerous awards for his leadership on social justice and accepted them with great humility, always stating the team effort involved and how grateful he was to his coworkers and family.
Tony had a beautiful, roaring laugh that he used often and he will be forever remembered for that, as well as all of his good works. Tony enjoyed fine food and travel but also loved staying home with family. He loved large family gatherings and always accepted new people into the fold.
Tony was a hero and a champion for social justice his entire life. The loss of his life to ALS was extremely difficult for him and the hundreds of thousands of people who love him. Many, many people, for generations to come, during their working day, will ask themselves before making a decision, "what would Tony do?" Although we no longer hear Tony's laugh, we encourage everyone from the halls of Olympia to the homes and communities in which he worked, to recall and remember. It will bring joy to your heart.
Tony was preceded in death by his parents Chang Pei Yu Lee and Wai Lee, his sisters Anna Chen, Lucy Lee, Theresa Lee and Magdalene Lee, and his mother-in-law Pokow Chun.
He is survived by his wife Angela Bartels, his son Christopher Lee (Sharon Lee), his step-daughter Anna Bartels of Seattle, WA, his siblings Joseph Lee of Bellevue, WA (Wei Lee), Mary Lee Stanzl and Cecilia Lee of Seattle, Bernadette Shih and Marie Pang of California. Tony is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews and extended family members. A celebration of Tony's life will be held virtually after the first of the year. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Statewide Poverty Action Network at povertyaction.org and Social Justice Fund Northwest at socialjusticefund.org.
Published on November 19, 2020