Harris County Precinct 1 Commissioner, El Franco Lee has died Sunday morning. Sources confirmed that the cause of death was a heart attack. The commissioner was a native Houstonian and graduate of Texas Southern University who started his political career in 1979 when he was elected as the first African-American Harris County Commissioner. He was currently serving his seventh term. He is survived by his wife Ethel-Kaye and their two children.
Newly elected Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner issued this statement:
“My heart is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Harris County Commissioner El Franco Lee. I first met El Franco more than three decades ago when he was serving in the State Legislature. In 1984, we ran against each other for Harris County Commissioner and he beat me.
El Franco was a beloved public servant who never sought the limelight, preferring a low key approach tat put the needs of his constituents above self-promotion. His passion was helping seniors and improving quality of life for underserved youth and young adults in the inner city. His unmatched programs for thousands of seniors include everything from health and fitness initiatives to arts and crafts and music tutorials to holiday celebrations and special events. El Franco’s dedication to improving social services, health care, educational and vocational needs for Harris County youth is exemplified by his wonderful Street Olympics Program. He grew the Street Olympics from a summer-only recreation activity into a comprehensive event that impacted the lives of more than 10,000 young adults every year.
El Franco served Harris County well for 30 years and will be greatly missed. On behalf of the City of Houston, I send condolences and prayers to his family. I have directed that flags at City of Houston facilities be lowered to half-staff. “