Neville Lee remembered as exceptional

By Richard Johnson
Observer senior reporter

Thursday, August 30, 2018

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It was a solemn traditional Catholic service for record distributor Neville Lee at Saints Peter and Paul Church in St Andrew, Tuesday.

Lee, founder of Sonic Sounds, died on July 31 from leukaemia and diabetes. He was 80 years old.

He was eulogised as a gentle giant — a kind, caring man with a huge heart for family. That family included friends, those he worked with and the community.

His younger brother Willie Stewart, former drummer with reggae band Third World, remembered Lee as a gentleman.

“My brother Neville was an exceptional human being with a capacity to love each and every persons; always putting his family first. When I say family, it was extended to his friends, those he worked with and the community at large. He was a great listener always ready to encourage and celebrate any success in life no matter how big, no matter how small,” said Stewart.

“His laughter was always bright, radiant and effervescent. He was a loving husband, a devoted and committed father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend. No task was too small or too big for him to give a helping hand. Neville was able to connect with and advise and motivate people from all walks of life,” he continued. “From the man in the street to the biggest corporate executive; from the youngest member of the family to the most troubled teenager or an adult trying to figure out what life is all about.”

Lee got involved in the music industry after returning to Jamaica from London in 1969 at the invitation of his older brother, musician/businessman Byron Lee. He worked as a manager at Dynamic Sounds, the record-manufacturing and distribution company Byron owned.

He remained with Dynamic Sounds until 1979 when he branched out and formed Sonic Sounds. There, Neville Lee marshalled distribution of major reggae artistes including; Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, Bunny Wailer, Rita Marley and Gregory Isaacs.

He is survived by widow Winnie, four children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

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