Wealthy Ex-Cop Behind Lee Funeral Home

At the top of the list of prestigious funeral homes in the country is Lee Funeral Home in Nairobi that is a preference for the high and the mighty.

Over the years, the funeral home has served families of politicians and other wealthy personalities who are ready to spend big to pay the last respects of their departed kin. 

John S Lee is the founder and chief executive officer at the classy funeral home, having founded it in 1987.

A past photo of Lee Funeral Home founder John S Lee

In an interview posted on Youtube in February 2018, John, who was born, raised and educated in Nairobi, explained the circumstances that led to the birth of his business. 

“After my education in Nairobi, my parents and I went to the United Kingdom in 1963. In 1964, I joined the country’s police force.

“They put me to work at a hospital in Cambridge where I was dealing with pathologists and caretakers on a daily basis. This helped me get a slight understanding of how to run a funeral home,” remarked Lee.

After five years in the UK, Lee came back to Nairobi, where his slight and indirect experience helped build up what would emerge as a unique project that had not been implemented by anyone else.

“When I came back in 1968, I was told of the appalling state of City Mortuary. I was then being told to help people set up their funerals because they feared ending up at City Mortuary. I decided to take the chance,” he spoke.

Due to his clear ambitions, the government through Attorney General Charles Njonjo, embraced the idea and gave Lee the support needed to set up the high-end facility.

“I was walking from City Mortuary when Charles Njonjo who was the chairman of Nairobi Hospital (then) called me, asking if I would like to build a funeral parlour on the grounds of Nairobi Hospital. 

“I was surprised and quickly took the offer, starting the construction in 1987. We opened our doors on December 12, 1988,” stated Lee.

After the completion of the facility, Lee indicated that the management took a keen interest in giving first-class services to bereaved families.

Another focus area was taking care of the deceased until the internment process was over, making it the best funeral home in the country.

Lee is also the chairman at the Antique Auctioneers Company limited.

Among powerful personalities whose bodies were taken to Lee Funeral Home include former president Daniel Moi whose body was brought in from the Nairobi Hospital on Tuesday, February 4 after his death. 

A past photo of pallbearers carrying out a coffin at the Lee Funeral services

Other individuals whose bodies were taken to the facility include former Laikipia Senator GG Kariuki, former Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery and veteran KANU politician Nicholas Biwott.

Others included former ministers John Michuki, Njenga Karume, George Saitoti, William ole Ntimama and Soita Shitanda. 

Internal Affairs Assistant Minister Orwa Ojode, former First Lady Lucy Kibaki, businessman Jacob Juma, former Nyeri County governors Nderitu Gachagua and Wahome Gakuru were also preserved at the facility.

A photo of an open coffin at the Lee Funeral Home
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