By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: The electrical retail industry has paid tribute to Bing Lee co-founder and chairman, Ken Lee at a Sydney service yesterday, with high profile suppliers and colleagues joining family, friends and Bing Lee staff in farewelling one of New South Wales’ most successful appliance retailers.

Around 1,000 people attended the memorial service held in Sydney’s Town Hall at 2pm Tuesday, celebrating the life of Ken Lee who passed away in late December 2007.

Metropolitan-Sydney Bing Lee stores closed for the afternoon allowing store staff to pay tribute to their former boss, who was renown for making an effort to meet all of his employees.

Personal friends speaking at the 90 minute service honoured Ken as a man with a passion for life, a love of fishing and an appreciation of fine food and wine in good company.

Work colleagues from the electrical retail industry remembered an ethical businessman with integrity and loyalty.

“Ken believed in relationships,” said Narta managing director, Kay Spencer, speaking at the service.

“He believed that if you treat your customers honestly and fairly they will come back again and again.”

Ken also believed that “if you treat suppliers with respect and honour your commitments they will become your allies. When he needed help, they did,” she said.

Ken left the business poised for future growth and with good fundamentals, according to Spencer.

Others speaking at the service included Barry Anderson, Paul Cross, Tiber Lee, Harry Marr, Jim Hankinson, Theo Baltsas and two of Ken’s six grandchildren, Jasmine and Jordan.

Ken’s eldest son Lionel Lee, who will take over the reigns of the $370 million retail business, described his father as a hard task master and often difficult to please.

But after 22 years of grooming in various roles within Bing Lee, from delivery boy to management, Lionel said he was grateful for his father’s example.

“They say children rarely listen to their parents, but often imitate them,” said Lionel.

“I look forward to imitating my father and I look forward to the challenge of leading Bing Lee into the future.”