College Trustee Nilane Lee Dies at 60


Nilane A. Lee, the North Orange County Community College board president who recently stepped down because of health problems, has died of cancer. She was 60.

Lee was serving as president for the fourth time in her 14 years on the college district’s Board of Trustees when she resigned last month. In a recent interview, she said she had been battling breast cancer for eight years.

Lee died last Tuesday at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton.

Her colleagues on the board called her a gentle, caring woman who dedicated her life to service to others.


“Nilane was a true, loyal friend who had a special genius about her,” said Trustee Barry J. Wishart, who was a close friend of Lee for more than 18 years. “Her qualities were her intelligence, good judgment and the respect and gentle care she showed everybody. When she was president, the board hummed. . . . She had it all, a family, a career. She rendered service to the community. She had many true, loyal friends and none of us ever felt neglected.”

Flags flew at half staff Monday at Fullerton and Cypress colleges in Lee’s honor.

Lee, who moved to Fullerton 27 years ago with her husband, Bruce, was a state probate referee, an attorney and high school teacher.

She taught mathematics at Troy High School while attending Western State Law School in the 1970s. During that time, she was responsible for forming the teachers union at the Fullerton Joint Union High School District, Wishart said.

Later she became a delegate to the Orange County Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and a member of the Democratic Foundation of Orange County, the Orange County Trial Lawyers Assn., the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Organization for Women.

In addition to her husband, Lee is survived by a daughter, Gloria Fiorell of Layton, Utah; a son, Brace Alan Lee of Buena Park, and four grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Wednesday in Wilshire Auditorium at Fullerton College.

Donations in Lee’s memory may be made to the Nilane Lee Scholarship Fund of the Community College Foundation of North Orange County, 100 N. Lemon St., Fullerton, CA 92632, or the St. Jude Memorial Foundation Cancer Center, P.O. Box 4138, Fullerton, CA 92634.