The Community Remembers San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee

The late Mayor Ed Lee toured the Excelsior on Dec. 8 to see local businesses. Participants remember how he was engaged and excited to be visiting the neighborhood. Photo courtesy of Linda Stark Litehiser

Edwin Mah Lee, the 43rd mayor of San Francisco, suffered a heart attack while shopping in Sunnyside on Dec. 11 and passed away early Tuesday morning. He was 65. The Ingleside-Excelsior Light has asked a range of community members to submit their thoughts about the late mayor. Remembrances will be added as they are submitted.


Alex Walker, Field Representative for Phil Ting and Mission Terrace resident

Mayor Lee was an essential partner in our mission to represent San Francisco values in Sacramento, working with our office to write and pass legislation that allows San Francisco to pursue bold solutions to our homelessness crisis, for example. For myself, I’ll always remember the joy that always seemed to radiate off him, whether he was celebrating a Warriors championship or visiting a merchant corridor. The last time I saw him was the Friday before he passed, checking out the holiday window display in an Excelsior small business and having a great time. He loved this city and loved being its mayor.


Linda Stark Litehiser, McLaren Park Collaborative

My fondest memory is attending a State of the Parks meeting at City Hall some years ago & posing a question about Volunteerism. He flashed a big smile & talked at length about how passionate he felt about bringing citizens together through neighborhood and park volunteering. He continued to be an active volunteer himself, even through his years as Mayor. I will truly miss him.


Marc Christensen, president Merced Extension Triangle Neighborhood Association

Ed Lee was a friend. We go back to the days when he was the director of Public Works. As a public servant over the past decades Ed Lee cared deeply about the City and its people. Politics aside, he was a gentleman who understood the workings of San Francisco, and worked to make things better. My condolences go out to his wife, Anita, their two daughters, and to all those who called him friend.


Mary Harris, president of OMI Neighbors in Action

We feel very hard hit after losing May Wong, Vanessa Wallace and now Ed Lee in recent months. I’m beside myself.

I first met him when he was leading DBI, but our relationship was ‘hi and bye’ at that point.

We really got to know him when we went to Neighborhood Empowerment Network dinner and Lee, then City Administrator, was seated at our table.

I was supportive of his run for mayor [in 2011]. A lot of people were critical, but I thought he was entitled and qualified for the job and people were asking him to run.

Al and I were honored to be invited to his swearing-in ceremony. We got a call telling us that we were getting tickets to the ceremony. It turned out that this was all to mention us in his speech as neighborhood activists who he enjoyed working with.

I don’t think we have ever had a mayor who has visited the district as much as Lee.

He increased funding for senior programs and worked out the Mission Childcare Consortium deal. District 11 has the most children and seniors. Lee took care of both ends of the spectrum.

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