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Albert Chong Lee ’53

Albert was proud of his Chinese-American heritage. He was born in Portland and moved to China in 1930, where he attended elementary school. War broke out in China when he was 14, and Al and his older brother, Kay Fong Lee, returned on their own to the United States. Without parental support, Al worked jobs to support himself while attending high school. His academic success led to a dual-degree program at Reed and MIT.

Graduating with degrees in physics and electrical engineering, Al began a successful career as an electrical engineer. He started with General Electric in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, but his interests eventually led him across the country to Los Angeles, where he began working for America’s burgeoning space program. During his time in Los Angeles, he met and married his wife, Susan. After becoming an expert in solar cell arrays, Al moved to Houston to support the Apollo program. Al began designing electrical transformers with GE, first in Shreveport, Louisiana, and then in Hickory, North Carolina. He retired from GE in 1992 and was especially proud of the patents he developed at the company related to transformers and amorphous metals.

After retiring, he was involved in many civic activities in Hickory, North Carolina, and held several elected positions. In 2008, he and Susan moved to the Carolina Preserve neighborhood in Cary. He was involved with the Kiwanis Club and met many new friends through his participation in activities such as table tennis and mahjong. Al is survived by his wife and his children, Lorraine Lee, Tina Lee, and Stephanie DeArmey.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2018

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