LAS VEGAS (KTNV) – An inspiration and a pioneer for aspiring entrepreneurs. This is how Kenny Lee’s friends and acquaintances remember the CEO of Lee’s Discount Liquor. Lee was killed in an accident last Friday in northern Nevada.
“The infectious smile, the energy and the charisma he had.”
Lee is remembered by many in the Las Vegas community. The news came just months after her father Hae Un Lee lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. Friends say Kenny always had a sunny personality.
“He just brings joy to people’s lives and you can’t find people like him who are often so generous but also so social,” said Randy Char, of Las Vegas Sotheby’s International.
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It is a belief that has resulted in millions of dollars in donations to various community initiatives.
Char, who knew Lee in professional and philanthropic circles, says he had a selfless and charitable personality.
“He has that kind of quiet confidence and he gives so much, but he does it in a low key way and you can tell it’s not about him,” he said.
Evan Louie, another professional acquaintance and local entrepreneur, sees Kenny Lee as a role model for entrepreneurs after humble beginnings with his immigrant family from South Korea to create Nevada’s largest liquor retailer.
“It’s one of the iconic companies here that are of Asian American descent that have thrived and been very successful,” he said.
He says Kenny Lee has always been in the community and has been a positive influence wherever he goes.
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“He usually had a good disposition so there was always someone who said good things and ‘oh you should reach out to Kenny Lee! “He was also a connector,” he said.
A connector that wanted to prioritize the Vegas community.
“He really believed in the city. Really believed in what the city has to offer and the future so we will miss him dearly, ”said Char.
A public vigil is scheduled for Friday morning at Lee’s Discount Liquor store on the corner of Azure and Tenaya at 9:30 a.m., where people can pay their respects. The Lee family asks instead of flowers, donations are made instead to New view.