It has been almost
a mystery why many prominent people in Kenya are taken to the Lee Funeral Home
when they die.
An even bigger
mystery is who owns the Lee Funeral Home which is known for being the last home
on earth for most of Kenya’s high and mighty.
interview in 2018 reveals the man behind the very successful mortuary whose business
connections and returns must be the envy of many.
Funeral Home Trust by the British in
is no glamour in death, the business of death has proven over time that no
money is bad money.
raiding tombs to steal expensive coffins to many others becoming millionaires
embalming the dead, death has proven to be a worthwhile investment for the
living. If the Lee Funeral home is anything to go by, then by no means is death
to be feared. There is money in it.
The Lee Funeral
Home is one of the few the British citizens living in Kenya trust to do a
perfect job when they are preparing their loved ones for their final rites.
the British High Commission in Nairobi, the best funeral homes would be two
based in Mombasa and one in Nairobi.
Funeral is preferred because according to the Commission, the company has
English speaking staff.
is important and so this is important not just for the British but for anyone
who needs help when they are grieving.
to many other offerings which make it a preferable choice for the British, the
Lee Funeral Home is joined by the Tonny Funeral Services and Janam Funeral Services
which are based in Mombasa.
The Business of Death
1987, the Lee Funeral Home is owned by John Stuart Lee who is the founder and CEO.
interview, Lee says he was born, raised and educated in Nairobi. He says that
he went to the UK after his education in Nairobi and joined the police force
It is while
working with the police that he was put to work at a hospital in Cambridge where
he got a hang of how funeral homes run.
“I was born
and educated here in Nairobi and in 1963 my parents and I went back to the UK
and then in 1964 I joined the main police force and after a while they put me
into Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge to work for the coroner’s office so I
was dealing with pathologists and the undertakers every day,”
His coming back to Kenya in 1968 heralded the
beginning of a new era for mortuaries in Kenya with the City Mortuary being the
main one which was, according to Lee, in an appalling state.
He says, “When
I came back to Kenya in 1968 and was told of the appalling state of City
Mortuary, I was then being asked by various people can you help us to set up
our funeral because we don’t want to go to City Mortuary ourselves and that’s
where I got the idea from.”
Interestingly, for his proclivity to the finer things in life including the British culture itself, Charles Njonjo was very instrumental in the coming up of the Lee Funeral Home.
Lee says that
the birth of the Lee Funeral Home was due to his work at the holding room of
Nairobi Hospital and the City Mortuary.
“Whilst I was
working out of City Mortuary and the holding room at Nairobi Hospital before we
ever built where we are now at Nairobi Hospital, Sir Charles Njonjo who was
then the chairman of Nairobi Hospital called me up and he said, would you like
to build a funeral parlour on the grounds of Nairobi Hospital? So we built the
current Lee Funeral Home within the grounds of the hospital in 87 and we opened
in 1988 during the 25 years celebration of Independence of the Republic of
Kenya,” Lee adds.
Funeral Home Charges
As the first
funeral home in East Africa, Lee Funeral Home has grown with time seeing the
demand for its services rise.
the funeral parlour will charge you anything from Sh5,000 to collect the body
from home and Sh 3,000
daily for storage.
the funeral home go for anything between Sh35,000 to Sh130,000.
For the body handling,
which includes washing and dressing, the cost is Sh5,000 while a Jaguar hearse
would see you cough up at least Sh130,000 for transport within Nairobi.
are dependent on the needs and demands of those seeking services at the funeral
these packages, the high and mighty can still afford to splurge the amounts
without feeling a pinch since it is pocket change.
But for the
man who runs the Lee Funeral Home, his is to offer the bereaved live funeral
home to give first-class quality service and look after the deceased until the
time of either cremation or internment.
“Yes. And generally, look after the bereaved family. That’s what we’re there for,” concludes Lee.
Kenya is my home and its development and growth my motivation.
I have a pen and a story to tell about why #KenyaIsMagical.
Do you have a tip?
We can showcase Kenya together since there is no place like home.
Reach me at [email protected]