Memories of Rich Lee
My name is Bob Torrey, and I taught Rich Social Studies and Humanities. We are here today to celebrate a dear friend, classmate, and beloved member of the Punahou family.
As you know, Rich was a partner and managing director at Cantor Fitzgerald, premier specialists in
bond trading. Howard Lutnick, the CEO, told the Lee family that "Rich was the smartest guy I had. We put him in charge of a project, and left him alone. Sooner than later we had the answers we wanted. If I had Rich now, the problems that we face now in rebuilding the company, and helping the families, our families, would seem minimal."
In high school, Rich was bright, sensitive, creative, and witty, very witty. Many of you may recall that during those golden years, Rich would spell his name "RCH". I used to tease him that he couldn't spell... and only learned how when he went to Yale. (Perhaps that was Karen's influence.) Of the stories for that unique spelling, two stand out: 1) He wished to distinguish himself from another Richard Lee in the class behind him, and 2) during an interview after a football game, the reporter asked him how he spelled his name. Rich said, Why RCH, naturally. Coach Pavich says there is no "I" in "TEAM", and there is no "I" in RCH. No matter how he spelled his name, Rich was always known for his spirit and intelligence.
Rich was also very humble about his talents and the rewards he earned. If you weren't a member
of the Class of' 86 or immediate family, you probably never knew that Rich was one of 19 seniors in a class of 415, who won the coveted President's Award. I would like to excerpt the commendation which accompanied this special recognition.
"The President's Award is more than a commendation for outstanding services, more than recognition for scholarship and leadership, more than a reward for dedication, perseverance, and achievement. The awardees really need no reward beyond the life that they have made for themselves.
"Nominated by your classmates, and selected by your teachers, you recipients deserve this award, not so much for what you have done as for what you are, for what you have given us individually... the enthusiasm and love, the warmth and respect you engender in us, the trust we know we can put in you.
"The President's Award is a promise made by your classmates and teachers that we will not forget what you stand for, what you have given us in your unique way, what we have learned from you about producing a happy person and the good life."
That pretty much says what we still feel about you, Rich Lee.
-- Bob Torrey