Henry Lee’s Example

May 10, 2011

Henry Lee has stepped down as the Chairman of the Friends of the Public Garden.

He has become its president emeritus.

His departure after 41 years leaves a void as Mr. Lee came to personify the idea that example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.

In every way, at every turn in the road, Mr. Lee tended to do the right thing leading the Friends.

During the past four decades, Mr. Lee’s exhaustive efforts helped to build a 2500 -member organization backed by an endowment of about $17 million.

Mr. Lee came on at a time when efforts were being made to change Boston to make it more modern. This implied that taller buildings were needed, even along Boylston Street.

Mr. Lee was against towering skyscrapers that cast shadows onto the Public Garden or the Common from the very start of his long tenure. He remained absolutely aligned to that idea until the day he stepped down from his chairmanship recently.

Above all, Mr. Lee was a fighter for what he believed was right.

He made many, many friends during his years as chairman.

He seemed to always intuitively know what would be right for the Garden and the Common.

To him, the parks were sacred land, for the use of the public and to be watched over in perpetuity.

Now 86, and wanting more time for himself and believing someone else should take over where he is leaving off, he decided to step down.

The Public Garden and Common are better places for his extraordinary 41-year effort.

We congratulate him for his service.

We wish him many more years of good health.

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