Editor's Note

Thank You, Jackie Lee



Jackie Lee Houston

ELENA RAY

The first invitation I received after taking my place as editor-in-chief of Palm Springs Life came with a handwritten note from Jackie Lee Houston. She welcomed me to the Palm Springs community -— and to sit next to her at her table at Pets on Parade, the luncheon event benefiting the Humane Society of the Desert and Pegasus Riding Academy for the Handicapped.

It was there, at the Doral Desert Princess Resort in Cathedral City in 2002, that Jackie Lee (she insisted I call her by her first name rather than Mrs. Houston) told me not to blink, because soon she would give the Coachella Valley its own CBS affiliate on the coveted channel 2 position. Today, KPSP Local 2 is an integral part of not only the news media, but also of the community itself.

As the Palm Springs Life staff was putting this issue to bed, we learned that Jackie Lee had died. The “Guardian Angel of the Desert” — who founded, supported, led, and helped countless charities — was gone, leaving us to carry on her singular mission: to continually help improve the lives of desert residents and organizations in need.

How will we ever measure up? Jackie Lee was always raising the bar. She made giving cool. To be friends with Jackie Lee, you, too, needed to assert a giving spirit. That came with surprising ease, because hers was infectious.

Jackie Lee was especially kind to Angel View Crippled Children’s Foundation, helping to establish 18 residential properties, as well as Stroke Recovery Center (which has the popular Jackie Lee’s Thrift Shop), and F.I.N.D. Food Bank, a vision that took more than 20 years to realize. Today, Lisa Houston, daughter-in-law of Jackie Lee and her husband Jim, is chief executive officer of the valley’s only food bank, which serves the young and old, as well as the working poor.

While reviewing the pages of Palm Springs Life and by attending fundraising luncheons and black-tie galas, I continually marveled at Jackie Lee’s generosity with her time, money, and compassion.

Personally, I was mostly exposed to her leadership in the arts, especially her involvement with the Palm Springs International Film Festival, McCallum Theatre, and Palm Springs Art Museum, where — at the bottom of the main-entry steps — her star appears as part of the Palm Springs Walk of Stars.

Her impact on the desert’s arts and culture scene seems as immeasurable as the number of lives she affected. Even if you are familiar with Jackie Lee only by name, she surely influenced your life through her superheroic gifts. All the time and every dime she and Jim gave were solely to improve the lives of their neighbors. “Make no mistake,” KPSP Local 2 General Manager Don Perry said in the station’s on-air tribute. “Jackie Lee will be missed by everyone in this valley, because she touched everyone, whether they knew it or not.”

It’s impossible to list all of the charities, organizations, and individuals she helped and all the honors and accolades she received for her commitments.

Who will fill that void? That remains the challenge for our community.

Comments to this website are moderated by staff. While all comments are welcome, we encourage all to be polite and please do not use this system for advertising or business promotions. Any complaint towards a business or service should be directed directly to that business and not posted here. If anyone has a complaint that a comment is defamatory, please contact me at tmay@palmspringslife.com and I will take appropriate action promptly. Thank You

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Palm Springs Life
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Intersecting Perspectives

While Moby might be best known for infectious DJ sets and his blend of electronica, trip pop, and rock that has sold millions of albums, he’s equally well-versed and respected in architecture and design.

Group Photography Exhibition Opens at Brian Marki Fine Art - Apr. 10, 2015

The show highlighted the works of three acclaimed photographers; featuring large format color work by Jaime Kowal, black and white photography by Axel Breutigam and monotone and color images by Gary Gardner.

Douglas Kirkland Shares Coco Chanel Photos, Stories at Melissa Morgan Fine Art

Celebrated photographer Douglas Kirkland brought stories to go with the photos he shot 53 years ago of famed designer Coco Chanel during a recent book tour stop at Melissa Morgan Fine Art in Palm Desert.

Cody Simpson, Alli Simpson, Kellan Lutz Hit Coachella Party in Palm Springs

It was the ultimate Sunday Funday at The Music Lounge presented by MUDD and Ocean Pacific (Op) where celebs ended Coachella Weekend One with brunch and a pool party at the Ingleside Inn in Palm Springs.

Ashley Collins Exhibition Opens at Melissa Morgan Fine Art - Apr. 3, 2015

Ashley Collins has surpassed both trend and time to create works which are distinct, carrying an imprint that is instantly recognizable.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

2014/15 Best of the Best

2014/15 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest

Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest

Enter your “Cutest Pet” photo in the Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest. Online users will be able to like the Cutest Pet photos from six (6) categories.
Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.