Sonya Lee, a community service officer at the USC Department of Public Safety for 13 years, died Friday as the result of a traffic collision. She was 49.
During her career, Lee worked at the Health Sciences Campus, the bookstore, Adopt-a-Hall, the USC Village, Camera Surveillance, and most recently at 3434 Grand Avenue.
DPS Chief John Thomas said that Lee was an exemplary officer whose devotion and commitment to USC shone through in the quality of her work.
“She cared deeply about USC,” Thomas said. “She really cared about providing quality service. She was exactly the kind of officer that we want at our department — really at your service, but also caring about people.”
Thomas said Lee was also a kind, genuine person who always had a smile on her face and brightened up the days of everyone around her.
“Sonya was by far one of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet,” Thomas said. “She cared about the students. She was very compassionate, a person who loved people. She was always smiling, always positive and really enjoyed working here at USC.”
Thomas said that Lee would be remembered for her selfless spirit and positive energy.
“Anyone who has been at DPS for a length of time would say the same thing,” Thomas said. “She was always helping people. She’s one of those people that no one would have a negative thing to say about her.”
Lee’s family is heavily connected to the USC community. Her daughter Destinee received her master’s degree from USC. Her brother Billy also works at the USC in the transportation department. Lee is survived by her daughter, her two brothers, Billy and Bernard, and her mother and father.
In Lee’s memory, Thomas authorized all uniformed personnel to wear a mourning band.