MiraCosta professor, poet passes away


Poet and MiraCosta College professor Teresa G. Lee died July 17 due to complications from a brain aneurysm.

Lee, an Encinitas resident, was born in Chile in 1942 and came to the U.S. with a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Kansas. There, she received her master’s in linguistics. She later went back to Chile and married Charles Lee, a former classmate in Kansas.

She was a Spanish professor at MiraCosta for nearly 25 years, teaching mainly at the San Elijo Campus in Cardiff. Lee is remembered as a gifted bilingual poet who made regular contributions to a number of publications.

Lee is survived by her son, Hiram Lee-Gonzalez, her 95-year-old mother, Maria, and her sister, Nora Gonzalez, according to her obituary.

During a sabbatical trip to Chile in 1996, she suffered a brain aneurysm, according to her obituary. A surgery stopped the bleeding by closing off veins with metallic clips. Doctors told her the clips would last 10 years.

To beat the 10 years, she became a semi-vegetarian, lost weight, took supplements, exercised by walking as well as ballroom dancing, and became a strong believer in the power of Jesus Christ, her obituary stated. It went on to say:

“Teresa did everything to perfection and this characteristic paid off at the end: She was able to extend her life nine years more than the original 10 years predicted by her doctors.”

A memorial Mass will be celebrated on Aug. 7, followed by a reception. The bilingual service will be from 3-5 p.m. at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 1001 Encinitas Blvd., Encinitas.

A tribute with poetry from Chile and her favorite Spanish-speaking authors will be held from 1-3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 2 at the Escondido Arts Partnership Municipal Gallery, 262 E. Grand Avenue, Escondido.

Sally Foster, dean of MiraCosta’s San Elijo campus, was a good friend of Lee’s. Foster has fond memories of attending ballroom dancing classes with her.

“She was a much loved person at MiraCosta,” Foster wrote in an email. “She attended every college event she could get to, and read her poems whenever asked.”

Foster also wrote: “She will be missed, but will live on in her poems.”