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DeKalb Medical at Hillandale Honors the Life and Legacy of Oliver Lee

August 31, 2015

Oliver Lee learned the power of giving early on in life when his selection to participate in the A Better Chance (ABC) program lifted his horizons into a future brimming with hope and possibility.

“It put him on a new trajectory that would shape his driving principles and passion for helping people and communities to better themselves,” said his wife Gloria Harper Lee, PhD.

Lee, who once considered medical school, but became a lawyer instead, was as much at ease in the boardroom as he was in the courtroom and served on multiple business and healthcare boards including the DeKalb Regional Health System Board of Directors.

This fall, the Hillandale walkway will be named in honor of the life’s work of Oliver Lee, who passed away in February 2013 from cancer.

“My father never operated as an ‘I’,” said his son, Jonathan. “He was always a ‘we’ who quietly championed the Certificate of Need and build out of DeKalb Medical’s Hillandale hospital over a span of 20 years.”

His mission to ensure this growing area of Atlanta had its own hospital came from personal experience.

“When I was little I had a terrible accident where my arms were cut by a glass window and my father had to drive more than 20 miles to get me to the ER,” said his daughter, Kristen Lee Barnett. “It was then he realized access to good medical care should never be that far away.”

DeKalb Medical’s Hillandale campus opened in 2005.

Lee’s vision was also driven by a strong conviction that, “If you can’t take care of the medical needs of the people in your own community, you can’t have a healthy infrastructure of schools or business,” recalled his second son, Jason.

“To help bring DeKalb Medical at Hillandale to the community and see it thrive and do well was of special importance to him,” said his wife.