Puck Hee Lee, a former nursing aide at Kane Regional Center in Scott who had once worked as a doctor in China, India and his native Burma, died Thursday.
He was 88 and lived for many years in Brookline with his mother before moving to a nursing center in Homestead.
Mr. Lee came to Pittsburgh in 1980, following his brother, Swenam Lee of Green Tree, an engineer who had immigrated here in 1969.
Mr. Lee worked for nine years at Kane, living quietly in Brookline and self-publishing several books on subjects as varied as life in India, the last days of the royal house of Kokang in Burma and an examination of paranormal experiences.
He also enjoyed writing and publishing poetry and reading palms, part of a holistic view of life he embraced.
"He was very spiritual," said Carolyn Hall, administrator at Eldercrest Nursing Center in Homestead, where Mr. Lee spent the last few years. "He did palm readings for the staff here. He would give his own doctor advice about what to eat."
Mr. Lee was born in Rangoon, Burma, in 1925, one of 12 children of a wealthy businessman and his wife.
He left home in his teens to earn a medical degree in Calcutta, India, in the 1940s, then returned to Burma to work as a government doctor in the province of Kokang and the remote town of Namkhan, where his brother said his mentor was Gordon Seagrove, a famed American missionary surgeon.
Swenam Lee said his brother was also good friends with Edward Yang, the king of Kokang from 1949 until he was deposed in 1959.
Mr. Lee spent a decade in Kokang, then returned to Rangoon to work as a doctor in a private clinic.
After the communist takeover of Burma in 1962, the family fled.
"We all ran out of the country because of the suppressive government," said Swenam Lee, 71.
Mr. Lee left in 1966 and went to China, where he worked at a hospital in the coastal city of Taishan.
China was poor then, and after 14 years he left and followed his mother and brother to America.
His medical degree was not up to American standards and he felt he was too old to go back to school to retrain, so he took a job at Kane at the suggestion of his friend, the late Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll, according to Swenam Lee.
He became an American citizen in 1987.
After his mother's death in 1996, Mr. Lee lived alone in the house and kept to himself; he didn't own a car or a computer.
When his health deteriorated two years ago, his family moved him into the nursing home.
Besides his brother, Mr. Lee is survived by three sisters, Veronica of Mt. Lebanon, Zorina of Sacramento, Calif., and Victoria of Australia; and a brother, Sweming of Squirrel Hill.
Visitation will be Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. at Laughlin Memorial Chapel, 222 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon. A funeral service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Monday at in the Mausoleum Chapel at Mt. Lebanon Cemetery, Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon.
Torsten Ove: email@example.com or 412-263-1510.