Growing up across the street from a fire hall, it was clear from an early age that Karl Lee had a passion for the Toronto Fire Department. Later in life he moved to Etobicoke where he lived with his wife, Adel, and was self-employed as both a real estate developer and proprietor of an alarm company. This provided him with a flexible work schedule, allowing him to pursue his personal interest in photographing fire equipment, fire fighting, public transportation, trains, and other Toronto events. In exchange for his work as unofficial department photographer he was rewarded with instruction on a department vehicle for the purpose of obtaining a driver’s permit. He was widely known within the TFD and recognized as an honourary member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. In addition to his membership with the GTMAA he also served as a long-time member of the Ontario Fire Buffs Association. J. Karl Lee died on November 1, 1989 and was buried at Prospect Cemetery, though his memory lives on through his many photographs that now reside in the City of Toronto Archives for the enjoyment of future generations.