Wally Lee served as the JAX Chamber president and CEO for 23 years. He passed away on Friday at the age of 69.

“Wally’s visionary leadership to focus on regional economic development is central to much of the success we’ve had in attracting jobs and investment to our community,” JAX Chamber President and CEO, Daniel Davis, said.

Lee first joined the chamber in November of 1989 as president. He retired in 2012.

When Lee decided to retire, he told the Times-Union that it was with a “dash of bittersweetness but with tremendous energy about the possibility of continuing to contribute to our region’s health in new ways."

Lee led the effort to develop what is now JAXUSA Partnership, a regional economic development organization that has helped create tens of thousands of jobs in Northeast Florida.

He also helped develop entrepreneurial programs like the Jacksonville Women’s Business Center, which advocated for a thriving downtown and championed civil rights.

“He was passionate about growing Jacksonville and pushing for our city forward," Davis said. "He leaves a lasting impact on our community and our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”

Members of the community posted their condolences to Facebook after hearing of Lee's passing: