Lee was one of the last of the one-man deli owners. His place was Front Street Deli, on the corner of Union and Front, in the heart of what was once the Memphis cotton district downtown. He died Wednesday in the hospital after trouble related to heart problems.
Regulars knew Lee's place as the scene of a bit in the Tom Cruise movie "The Firm" based on John Grisham's book. Lee was a fan of baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Memphis Redbirds, the Memphis Tigers and Grizzlies, and sports and scuttlebutt in general. He had worked on the river before going into the deli business and was a fountain of information about that too. And he made an honest sandwich or a plate of fried chicken with a side of chili, deviled eggs, or a chocolate shake.
He was a friendly, hard-working Memphian and we'll miss him.
Visitation will be held in the Narthex of Grace-St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Friday, March 8, 2013, from 1:00-2:00 p.m., with the funeral service beginning at 2:00 p.m.