Robert E. Lee

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Robert Erwin Lee Sr.
1960-Lee Robert Erwin.JPG
Robert E. Lee, 1960

Electoral District At-large
Term Start September 1, 1960
Term End August 31, 1964

Electoral District At-large

Biographical Information

Date of birth 18 Jun 1908
Date of death 4 May 1978 (aged 69)
Place of birth USA
Place of death Charlottesville, VA
Spouse Virginia Williams Lee (1906–1986)
Alma mater University of Virginia, School of Engineering (1929)
Profession R.E. Lee & Son, Inc.

Robert Erwin Lee (1908-1978) was a business owner who was active in civic groups and local politics. In the 1960 election, Lee became the first Republican to win a post on the Charlottesville City Council since the end of Reconstruction (1865-1877). Lee and his father, Robert Edward Lee (1878-1952), a mechanical engineer, co-founded the construction company of R. E. Lee & Son, Inc. in 1939.

Lee was a member of the Building Code Review Board in 1957. [1]

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The Lee family moved to Charlottesville in 1911. Lee attended Charlottesville High School and graduated from the University of Virginia School of Engineering in 1929 with a B.S. in civil engineering. He served as a major in the army corps of engineers in World War II, 1943-1945.

Business career

R.E. Lee and Sons

Over the years, the company has been characterized by steady growth from the construction of private residences in Charlottesville and surrounding areas to commercial, industrial and institutional building throughout the state of Virginia. Prior to 1950, the company's main emphasis was on building custom homes for individuals. In the late 1950's, the company expanded from building private residences to include some commercial construction. The firm began to concentrate almost exclusively on commercial contracts in the 1960's. In the 1970's, the company began to compete for institutional and industrial contracts as well. Today, R.E. Lee and Sons has branch offices in Hampton and Fairfax, Virginia, and employs over 300 people. The company celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1989.

R.E. Lee and Sons has been involved with many important projects in the area in addition to those included in this collection. In 1976, the company renovated the interior of the Rotunda and won the "Build America Award" for most outstanding construction project in the U.S. by the Association of General Contractors and Motorola Corporation. Projects at the University of Virginia include Clemons Library, the Law School, the Graduate School of Business, the Drama Building, the Schools of Education, Engineering and Nursing, Wilson Hall, Newcomb Hall, Thornton Hall and Monroe Hall as well as Lambeth, Copeley and Married Student Housing projects and the Scott Stadium expansion.

1960 election

Candidates Votes %
Bernard J. Haggerty (D) 2,898
Lindsey B. Mount (D) 2,718
Robert E. Lee (R) 2,167
S. Dexter Forbes (D) 2,122
Source: City of Charlottesville[2]

Each voter could vote for up to three candidates.

R. E. Lee, the only Republican to win a Council seat as a formal candidate of his party, drew 2,167 votes out of a possible 4,159.[3]


  1. Web. Council Is Told Natural Gas Hike Is Necessary, Staff Reports, Daily Progress Digitized Microfilm, Lindsay family, January 22, 1957, retrieved January 19, 2017 from University of Virginia Library. Print. January 22, 1957 page 8.
  2. Web. Election Results for June 14, 1960, City of Charlottesville, retrieved September 3, 2022.
  3. Web. [1], Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises