Driving around Koreatown in the passenger seat of his daughter’s car, Hi Duk Lee peered out the window, in awe of how much the neighborhood had changed in half a century.
Physically worn down from cancer, he asked his daughter to show him the town’s businesses and restaurants — many of them long gone — and he commented on what he noticed along the way.
He would say something like: This area is cleaner than before, or that business used to be something else, his youngest daughter, Helen Lee, reflected.
It was one of the last rides around the neighborhood her father helped build, his daughter said. The idealistic immigrant who paved the way for Koreatown to be the vibrant Los Angeles community it is today died in his Silver Lake home on March 7 after a six-month battle with colon cancer, according to family. He was 79.
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