Monday, September 25, 2017
Edward Oliver ‘Pete’ Lee Succumbs
By Sentinel News Service
Published November 5, 2009

Edward Oliver ‘Pete’ Lee Succumbs


Edward Oliver “Pete” Lee transitioned to be with his Lord on October 29, 2009, at the age of 78.  Born on September 29, 1931 in Jefferson, Missouri, Pete was the second son of Edward R. Lee and Irene Gentry Blackburn.  Pete spent most of his childhood in Vicksburg, Mississippi where he was raised by his Aunt, Martha Jane Dandridge, whom Pete affectionately called “Nanny”.   It was in elementary school where Pete starred in a school play as Peter Cotton Tail that he received the name he his most known by.



After graduation from Bowman High School in 1949, Pete enlisted in the United States Army and served during the Korean War, where at the age of 19, he lost a limb and was awarded the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, Combat Infantry Badge, Korean Service Medal with 4 Bronze Service Stars and the United States Service Medal. 


After his retirement from the U.S. Army in 1952, Pete received his A.A. degree from West Contra Costa College and his teaching credential from the University of California at Berkeley.  Pete began his career teaching French and American History at Oakland High School.  As part of the American Federation of Teachers, Pete became a union leader in the East Bay Labor Council and began representing the social and economic justice needs of his constituents. 


Pete was appointed by Governor Edmund G. Brown to serve as Trustee of the California State Colleges and Universities, was a lifetime member of the NAACP, and was the first African American to enter a run-off election for Oakland City Council when candidates were elected citywide rather than by districts. After retiring from teaching, Pete formed the consulting firm, MTO and Associates, which provided management, training and organizational development for public and private institutions, particularly in the areas of affirmative action and equal employment opportunity. 


Pete was also actively involved in numerous organizations that focused on improving the quality of life for the marginalized, oppressed and discriminated.  Pete’s treasured time was with a close circle of friends who met every Friday morning for breakfast and also every Monday night during football season.  If you asked Pete what the meetings were about, he would say, “we’re just trying to save the world”.


Pete loved to go to the racetrack and play the ponies, of which he became a horseracing enthusiast.  Pete shared his love of life with many friends over the years, and has left an impact on the lives of many, but was especially close with Leroy and Jacinth Appleby, Johnny Johns and Sharon Danjuma.


Pete is survived by his wife, Rosemary Lee; three children from his former marriage to Beverly Lee, Rev. Eric Peter Lee and wife Zena, Michele Elizabeth Lee, Keith Michael Lee and wife Kimberly, grandchildren Devon-Eric, Milon, Alexander, Eric, Jr., Zianna, Nina and Nora; brother Jem Hing Lee and wife Frankie; stepsons Frank and Kenneth Whitman; and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.  Pete was preceded in death by his parents, Edward Lee and Irene (Teddy) Ferguson, and his brother Henry “Jack” Gentry.


In lieu of flowers, make donations to SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference): 4182 So. Western Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90062; (323)903-5860;

Categories: Celebration of Life

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