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Obituary: John Doman Lee, 43

December 5, 2016 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Photo courtesy of the Lee family.
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Long Island native John Doman Lee, 43, died at his home in Brooklyn, New York, on October 17, 2016. He passed away in his sleep from unknown causes. John was the eldest child of Donald and Florence Lee, who, in 1969, were among the earliest black families to own property in the hamlet of Dix Hills, New York. John graduated from Half Hollow Hills High School West, where he excelled in sports, competing in both lacrosse and soccer.

The middle name, Doman, is a tribute to John’s maternal heritage. The family patriarch, James Richard Doman, emigrated from Jamaica before the war, and established a prominent real estate brokerage firm in the Bronx. James’s eldest son, James R. Doman, Jr., inherited his father’s penchant for property and buildings, and used that knowledge to launch an eponymous architectural firm. It became one of the largest architectural firms in New York City headed by an African American. The younger James Doman helped develop economic development projects in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx including construction of Commonwealth Industrial Park in the South Bronx and the landmark preservation of Strivers Row in Harlem. Considering that her brother, James, had no sons, Florence Lee endowed both her sons with the Doman moniker to preserve a legacy built by her father. 

John’s interests lied in television and media. After high school, he attended Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. As a student, he was active with the Hopkins Center for the Arts, the Afro-American Society, and Kappa Alpha Psi, a historically-black fraternity. John earned a bachelor of arts degree in film studies from Dartmouth in 1995, and returned to New York to embark on a career in television. He was hired by the local ABC television affiliate and worked there as an associate producer for an evening news program. He went on to serve in the same role for the nationally-televised news show Good Morning America. In 2005, John earned a juris doctorate degree from Brooklyn Law School in New York. He worked as an intellectual property lawyer in private practice until the time of his death. 

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John was predeceased by his father; and is survived by his mother; his younger brother, Geoffrey Doman Lee; and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.

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