James B. "Jimmy" Lee was remembered Monday as a legendary Wall Street dealmaker who fought tirelessly for his clients and befriended just about everyone he met.
"Your DNA is embedded in JPMorgan Chase," Jamie Dimon, the firm's chief executive officer, said Monday at a memorial mass for Lee at New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral, which was almost filled to capacity.
Lee, who was a vice chairman at JPMorgan Chase & Co., the biggest U.S. bank, died June 17 at a hospital in Connecticut, where he was taken after feeling short of breath on a treadmill at his home in Darien. He was 62.
Dimon, who was diagnosed with throat cancer last year, said Lee gave him constant support throughout the ordeal and came to the CEO's office every day to give him a hug. "And you whispered in my ear, 'I love you like a brother,'" Dimon said in a eulogy.
Lee's daughter Izzy read from Ecclesiastes 3, and Jamie Lee, Jimmy's son, gave one of the eulogies. He said his father had the special ability to connect with anyone, "the jocks and the nerds."
Mike McBride, Lee's friend of 50 years, also spoke.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan gave the final commendation.
Michael Bloomberg, Barry Diller, Jeff Immelt, Rupert Murdoch, Henry Kravis and Steve Schwarzman were among the 46 honorary ushers listed in the program. Lloyd Blankfein, Mort Zuckerman, Bill Ackman and Paul Taubman were among the mourners who filled the cathedral, which can accommodate about 2,500 people.
Lee advised on some of the biggest deals in corporate America, helping negotiate Comcast Corp.'s acquisition of NBC from General Electric Co. in 2009, the United-Continental airline merger in 2010 and General Motors Co.'s $18 billion initial public offering later that year. He also was an adviser to Dell Inc. on its $24.4 billion buyout by its founder, Michael Dell.