oh man, how many lee’s sandwiches and iced coffees have i had…..RIP
SAN JOSE — A successful Vietnamese businessman who got his start in San Jose has passed away. The founder of Lee’s Sandwiches, Le Van Ba, died from cancer earlier this week at the age of 79.He came to San Jose in 1980 after being in the sugar business in South Vietnam before the war. Just a few years later, Le and his family opened their first Vietnamese sandwich shop on East Santa Clara Street in Downtown San Jose.Since then, other locations have opened up throughout Silicon Valley, Southern California and other parts of the United States, some in malls and shopping centers.His family has scheduled a public viewing for Friday, December 3rd.
“His most important contribution was taking something that was a mom and pop concept of a Vietnamese sandwich and mainstreaming it, using the McDonald’s or Burger King model and popularizing it,” said De Tran, publisher of VTimes, a Vietnamese language newspaper in San Jose. Le was also known in the Vietnamese community for his philanthropy, Tran said.
The family is planning a public viewing at Oakhill Funeral Home & Memorial Park on Curtner Avenue from 3 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Dec. 3 and from 9 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., Dec. 5, prior to burial.