Joseph T.A. Lee
Joseph T.A. Lee, professor emeritus of the Taubman School of Architecture and Urban Planning, and co-founder, chief architect and planner of the Ann Arbor Kerrytown market, died Aug. 15 at his home in Ann Arbor. He was 91.
He was born in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, in 1918 of immigrant Chinese parents. His interest in architecture began as a boy when he built pens for pigeons and rabbits, progressing to remodeling his family's house when he was in high school. Instead of remaining in Nanaimo with his family's grocery business, he chose to continue his education by attending the University of British Columbia, studying civil engineering. From there he transferred to U-M, earning a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering and a Master of Science in structural engineering. After completing studies at Columbia University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering, and working in the private sector he studied architecture at the School of Architecture at Columbia University.
In 1952 he was invited to U-M, where he taught for the next three decades. He also practiced architecture in Ann Arbor, with George Brigham, Don McMullen and in private practice. He designed residential, commercial, industrial and institutional projects.
In 1969 he formed a private initiative with attorney Arthur Carpenter and 10 other Ann Arborites to renew the area around the Farmers' Market in downtown Ann Arbor. He was the vice president of Arbor-A and the chief architect and planner for these projects. This area was transformed into what is now a well-known Ann Arbor landmark, the Kerrytown Markets and Shops.
Throughout his life, he was active in student and civic affairs. During his college years he was the president of the Chinese Students Clubs at U-M and Columbia University, as well as the Chinese engineering fraternity Alpha Lambda. He was a director of the Midwest Chinese Students' Alumni Services based in Chicago, a founder of the Association of Chinese-Americans and director of Chinese-Americans for Freedom and Human Rights, San Francisco. He was a trustee of the Ann Arbor School Board (1967-70).
During his 30 years at the university, he was inventive in his methods of teaching design, encouraging students to discover design principles through their own exploration. His students were a constant source of stimulation and he enjoyed the interaction of studio teaching. Many of his students remember evenings at the Lees' residence when discussions ran late into the night. His belief in the value of education continues with two scholarships that he and his late wife Elsie set up at U-M and with a grant for continuing teacher-development in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District, British Columbia.
The Lee family requests that gifts in his memory be made to either of the two scholarships at the university: 1. The Joseph T.A. Lee and Elsie Choy Lee Scholarship at the Taubman School (2000 Bonisteel Boulevard, Ann Arbor, MI 48109), which annually provides support for a graduate architecture student who "shows the most promise for a career that has a balanced, integrated, and broad approach to the design of human space." 2. The Elsie Choy Lee Scholarship at the Center for Continuing Education for Women (330 East Liberty St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104), which annually supports "undergraduate and graduate women in facilitating their own work in art, writing or music. It also is given to students researching women of creativity who have struggled to find their own voices within those fields."
Lee is survived by his sister, Anne Lowe of Vancouver, British Columbia; his children Rowe Lee-Mills of Ann Arbor, Justin Lee of Seattle and Puwen Lee of Arlington, Va.; and grandchildren Justine Lee-Mills, Lars Lee, Catherine Lee-Mills and Jessie Lee-Bauder.
A memorial service will be 2 p.m. Oct. 6 in the Kerrytown Concert House, 415 N. Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor.
Thomas Jay Garbaty
Professor Emeritus Thomas Jay Garbaty died at his home in Ann Arbor on July 29.
Garbaty was broadly educated and had a great love of literature. He was born in Berlin and came to the United States in the early 1930s.
He got his Bachelor of Arts at Haverford College and his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania. He taught for three years at Clemson University before coming to U-M, where he was an editor at The Middle English Dictionary and an instructor in the Department of English. He rose through the ranks, becoming a professor of English in 1971.
Many of his colleagues remember him as intellectually engaging and socially endearing, and say they enjoyed talking with him about everything from Chaucer manuscripts to the arts and literature of the 1890s. Garbaty was a distinguished medieval scholar, receiving numerous grants and awards. Specialists in medieval literature still rely on his research, and he remains an influential scholar. He also was a very popular teacher, colleagues say.
Personally a quiet man, Garbaty responded actively to the theatrical demands of the profession. It was obvious, both to his colleagues and to his students, that his classroom performances manifested a solid grasp of what he was teaching and made his courses great favorites. In short, he was a model teacher, scholar and colleague, friends say.
He is survived by a daughter, Bettina, a son, Michael, and his special friend Marian Cook.