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HomebusinessJohn Lee: Meet The Tycoon Who Owns Lee Funeral Home

John Lee: Meet The Tycoon Who Owns Lee Funeral Home

  • Lee Funeral home was built in 1987 and completed in December 1989
  • It was named after John Lee, a Kenyan born British

In Kenya, whenever you see Lee Funeral home trending on Twitter, you know a prominent person is about to be pronounced dead. Located at the Nairobi Hospital, the funeral home has been associated with high profile individuals in the country.

Some of Kenya’s deceased prominent politicians, businessmen among other influential persons were occupants of Lee. late President Daniel Arap Moi, Cabinet Ministers John Michuki, Nicholas Biwott, Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore are among those who have been hosted by the funeral home.

In this article, Wok takes a look at the owner of the high-end funeral home, and the history behind its establishment.

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Background

Lee Funeral home was set up in 1987. It was named after John Lee, a Kenyan born British.

He was raised in Kenya but went back to the UK in 1963. There, he joined the police force and was assigned medical duties where he interacted a lot with pathologists and undertakers.

“I was born and educated here in Nairobi and in 1963 my parents and I went back to the UK and then in 1964 I joined the main police force and after a while they put me into Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge to work for the coroner’s office so I was dealing with pathologists and the undertakers every day,” Lee says in a video posted by Lee Funeral Home.

“I then came back to Kenya in 1968 and was saddened by the deplorable condition of city mortuary.”

At the time, then-Attorney General Charles Njonjo who was chairman of Nairobi Hospital asked Lee to seriously consider setting up a morgue.

“Whilst I was working out of City Mortuary and the holding room at Nairobi Hospital before we ever built where we are now at Nairobi Hospital, Sir Charles Njonjo who was then the chairman of Nairobi Hospital called me up and he said, would you like to build a funeral parlour on the grounds of Nairobi Hospital? So we built the current Lee Funeral Home within the grounds of the hospital in 87 and we opened in 1988 during the 25 years celebration of Independence of the Republic of Kenya,” Lee adds.

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Construction of the Lee Funeral Home began in 1987 and the morgue was officially launched on December 12, 1989.

“Our core values in Lee Funeral Home include giving world-class service to the deceased by looking after him before the time of cremation or burial and also take care of the bereaved family,” Lee said.

He noted that the construction of the Lee Funeral Home paved way for the establishment of other private morgues in the country.

“I feel we have achieved more than I had even envisaged because we are now international,” he said.

Lee is a family-owned company that has its own luxurious chapel and fleet of expensive hearses such as limousines.

Charges

Lee Funeral Home has grown to one of the best morgues in the region and as a result the demand for its services have risen.

According to reports, within Nairobi, the funeral parlour will charge you anything from Ksh5,000 to collect the body from home and Ksh3,000 daily for storage.

Coffins at the funeral home go for anything between Ksh35,000 to Ksh130,000.

For the body handling, which includes washing and dressing, the cost is Ksh5,000 while a Jaguar hearse would see you cough up at least Ksh130,000 for transport within Nairobi.

Other charges are dependent on the needs and demands of those seeking services at the funeral home.

Lee noted that the funeral home purposes to offer the bereaved first-class quality service and look after the deceased until their time of either cremation or internment.

“Yes. And generally, look after the bereaved family. That’s what we’re there for,” he concluded.