In memoriam: Jeffrey W. Lem, 1962-2023

The team at iQ Business Media was saddened to learn of the passing of our long-time contributor and friend, Jeffrey W. Lem, on September 3 at the age of 61.

As Editor in Chief of the Real Property Reports and the Director of Titles for the Province of Ontario, Jeffrey brought invaluable expertise, wit, and wordsmithing to the pages of Building magazine, authoring the Legal Briefs column for well-over two decades. During that period, he tackled a wide array of legal issues of relevance to the building development industry, sometimes co-authoring with a partner, until handing over the column to his daughter, Megan J. Lem, a lawyer in her own right. His last column for Building, co-authored with Megan, was posted on May 25, 2020 and demonstrated his keen foresight by addressing a rise of post-COVID artificial intelligence-driven monitoring in buildings.

“Jeffrey Lem approached Building magazine more than 20 years ago offering to discuss the legal aspects of real estate for our readers. His columns were always well written, incisive and timely. Always on deadline, always topical. Contributors like him are rare and well appreciated. He is missed,” says Sheri Craig, owner of Crailer Communications, the previous publisher of Building.

“While Jeff was an authoritative Land Titles voice, he was also always open to debate, and he did so with expertise, passion, and wit. Jeff was a long-time leader within the legal community, not only as the Director of Titles, but also as an expert and foremost contributor during the previous years when the legal community shaped the practice and system for land titles registration,” said Elgin Farewell, president and CEO of Teranet in a statement posted on the company’s website.

The following obituary was published online by The Toronto Star on September 9, 2023:

LEM, JEFFREY, Jeffrey Walter passed away suddenly, but peacefully, in his sleep on September 3, 2023, at the age of 61. Prior to joining the public sector serving as the Director of Titles for the Province of Ontario, Jeffrey practiced real estate law in Toronto at several of Canada’s leading law firms. He had the honour of receiving both the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers’ Lifetime Achievement Award and the Toronto Lawyers Association’s Honsberger Award recognizing his commitment to the legal profession. Jeffrey was also the youngest ever recipient of the Ontario Bar Association’s Award of Excellence. Jeffrey was a role model and mentor to many. He taught at Osgoode Hall Law School and Lakehead University. He lectured frequently throughout Canada and internationally on real estate law, land registration, and professional responsibility. He will be remembered as being the real estate law community’s most prolific writer. Despite his unparalleled work ethic and numerous professional accolades, Jeffrey was first and foremost a family man. Throughout his life, Jeffrey was a pillar of wisdom and strength to his family. He is survived by his mother (Munlai), his partner (Diana), his children (Christopher, Megan, and Kaitlin), his grandson (Liam), his siblings (Jean and Jerry), and their families. He is predeceased by his father (Walter), his wife (Susan), and his granddaughter (Elsa). His many joys included baseball, a hand-written letter, a well-fitted suit, and a good steak dinner. Jeffrey will be dearly missed by his family, friends, colleagues, and students. The family will receive visitors at Chapel Ridge Funeral Home, 8911 Woodbine Ave, Markham from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on both Thursday, September 14 and Friday, September 15, 2023. A private funeral service will take place with his family. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. In Lieu of Flowers, please hold your donations for a scholarship fund of legal excellence in Jeffrey’s name which can be made at a later date. Please visit: www.chapelridgefh.com for more information (links to Book of Memories).

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