Bruce H. Lee, president and CEO of the family-owned real estate business Lee Development Group and a scion of the influential Blair-Lee family, died of pancreatic cancer Monday at the age of 58, according to company officials.
Lee was memorialized as “a spirited and generous leader” in a statement the company released Tuesday. His family founded the business in 1930, and Lee took over its leadership in 2005.
The company under Lee’s leadership helped develop projects such as The Fillmore, the performance venue in Silver Spring’s arts and entertainment district that opened in 2012, the release stated.
Lee also was key to the launch of the upcoming 16-story Elizabeth Square project, near the company’s headquarters in downtown Silver Spring. The project, set to open in 2023, aims to provide affordable housing, health facilities and an aquatic center for public use, according to LDG officials.
“As a close observer of Bruce in action, I can say that he was sharply focused on nurturing and supporting the many people whose lives he touched, both professionally and personally,” Lee’s cousin Richard Lee said in a statement. “His perspective was homegrown and beyond, and he was forever leading the chorus in support of Silver Spring.”
Lee was born in New York, went to Eckerd College in Florida, and earned his MBA from American University in Washington, D.C. He joined LDG in 1986 as a property manager, according to the Lee Development Group.
He is survived by his wife, Sarah; son, Thomas; and sister, Evalyn.
Lee’s other son, Andrew, died in 2019 from cancer at the age of 23, after founding the nonprofit Driven to Cure, of which Lee was the president and chairman. The nonprofit aims to “help raise awareness and provide funding for the research of rare kidney cancers like HLRCC [Hereditary leiomyomatosis and renal cell cancer] in children and young adults,” according to its official website.
Lee’s father, Bruce Lee, died Oct.14 at the age of 91 in New York City, and had previously served as chairman of the board at LDG.
Lee was a descendant of the historic Lee-Blair families. His ancestor Richard Henry Lee was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and a U.S. senator from Virginia. Another ancestor from the Blair family, Montgomery Blair, served as the postmaster general for President Abraham Lincoln. Lee’s great-grandfather, Blair Lee, represented Maryland in the U.S. Senate, while another family member, Blair Lee III, was an acting governor of Maryland.
Lee played several roles over the course of his lifetime, including charter president of the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce, president of the chamber and the chair of the Silver Spring Urban District Advisory Committee, according to the release.
He also was on the board of directors for EagleBank and the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce and served as the co-chair of the Economic Development Committee.
In 2018, he was inducted into the Montgomery County Business Hall of Fame.
While Lee helped LDG “cement [its] impact on Montgomery County,” he also oversaw the company’s expansion into Howard and Frederick counties, the organization stated.
A new LDG office was opened in the City of Frederick two years ago.
“When I think of Bruce, the word ‘dedicated’ is both before and after his name,” Jane Redicker, president of the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement.
“He was dedicated first and foremost to his family. He was a dedicated business and community leader, generous with his time, talents, and treasure. His dedication made Silver Spring, and our community, our world, a better place,” Redicker stated.
County Executive Marc Elrich released a statement on social media in response to Lee’s passing, which read: “Sorry to hear about the passing of Bruce Lee. Through Lee Development Group, Bruce worked for years to help transform Silver Spring into the vibrant community we have today. Our thoughts are with his family during their time of mourning.”
Another statement on social media by Lee’s friend Alan Bowser, a lawyer based in Silver Spring, recalled him as “a pillar of our Silver Spring community with a generous heart.”
Memorial plans have not yet been announced.