Cover photo for Dr. John Lee Westrate's Obituary
Dr. John Lee Westrate Profile Photo

Dr. John Lee Westrate

July 10, 1922 — October 22, 2022


Dr. John Lee Westrate

Dr. J. Lee Westrate
10 July 1922 – 22 Oct 2022

Dr. J. Lee Westrate (“Lee”) passed peacefully, surrounded by family, on 22 Oct 2022. He was a resident of Brightview-Devon in Wayne, PA. He was 100 years old.

Born on 10 July 1922 to Rev. Leonard and Bessie Westrate in Muscatine, Iowa, Lee valued education, family, relationships, service to God and country, travel, and giving back to those in need.

Lee began his career as an officer in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, later working in the security and intelligence sector for Strategic Air Command in the U.S. Naval Air Forces, and then as a White House science adviser working for presidents Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter. He also worked in other White House positions under presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Lee earned his doctorate in Political Science from the University of Chicago, his dissertation concentrating on Herbert Hoover, whom he personally knew. He was a professor at notable institutions including University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Oklahoma, University of Southern California, and George Washington University. He joined the private sector as CEO and Chairman for the National Housing Corporation. Lee was the recipient of countless awards and recognition for his service and generosity, especially in his role with urban housing development and affordable senior living. He traveled the world consulting with international leaders, lecturing, and writing, all while also serving in leadership capacity in the American Baptist Church.

It was at an American Baptist Church convention where Lee met his wife, Judith, marrying in 1986. They had a love that is only written in the stars. They served on non-profit boards, actively supported their church and community, traveled, and enjoyed many life-long friendships. Lee spoke endearingly of Judith and their vibrant relationship at her memorial at the National Presbyterian Church, where they commuted every weekend for Sunday services from their home outside Philadelphia, even into their
later years.

Lee’s internment will be at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Suitland, Maryland at a private ceremony. A memorial service will be held at a yet to be determined date at the National Presbyterian Church.

He is survived by grandchildren Christopher Westrate (Kirsten), Jennifer Weyant (Jacob), Jeremy Westrate (Nicole), stepsons Robert Waterston (Dr. Beth Brooks) and Gregory Waterston, as well as five great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Judith (Schramm) Westrate, and his son, Richard Westrate.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to National Presbyterian Church, 4101 Nebraska Avenue, N. W. Washington, D.C., 20016 (citing the Capital Campaign) or Illinois College, his beloved alma mater.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. John Lee Westrate, please visit our flower store.


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