Lael C. Lee, former Western Growers’ Director and Chairman passed away on December 4, 2016, at the age of 95. Lee served on the WG Board of Directors from 1973 to 1985 and became Chairman in 1982.
According to an LA Times obituary, following his honorable discharge from the United States Army Air Corp., Lee, a California native, began his distinguished career in agriculture in Mesa, Arizona, working for prominent Arizona melon grower, Earle Recker. Lee and his family lived in the Phoenix area for approximately 25 years before moving to Salinas, California.
In the early 60s, along with two partners, he operated Growers Exchange, Inc., a growing and packing company that was best known for handling lettuce, celery, broccoli, and other produce and row and field crops, among other farming ventures.
Lee was a former past president of both the Produce Marketing Association and the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California.
Lee’s wife of 66 years, Renee, passed away on September 17, 2011. He is survived by his children, Melinda Lee Jackson, Christopher S. Lee, Stephen C. Lee; 8 grandchildren; and 7 great grandchildren. A Catholic Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Edward the Confessor Church in Dana Point, Califonia, on Dec. 13, 2016 at 11 am. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Catholic Charities of Orange County.