Judy Lew and Lee Dirks, long-time Seattle residents and Microsoft veterans, involved in a fatal auto accident in Peru

Judy Lew and Lee Dirks, who were on holiday in Peru celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary, died in a car accident on Tuesday, August 28 when their car slid off the road.

Judy and Lee were beloved members of the Seattle community and truly inspiring people. Judy grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, attended Columbia University where she earned a B.A. in Political Science and joined Citibank where she worked for eight years. Judy earned her MBA from the University of Michigan and joined Microsoft in 1996. Known for her kindness, passionate commitment to work and thorough preparation of every detail, Judy led a number of key product planning and product development roles at Microsoft and was a Principal Program Manager in Visio at the time of her death.

Lee, a native of Texas, attended Trinity University and earned a Masters in Information and Library Sciences at the University of North Carolina. The couple met in New York and re-located to Seattle in 1996. Lee started as Microsoft’s first archivist and moved to Microsoft Research where he was a Director of Portfolio Strategy travelling the globe, establishing key relationships for the company with universities and research institutions. Lee was also involved in education and development issues, serving on the boards of the University of Washington’s Libraries’ Council of Advocates and the Washington Preservation Initiative. Lee’s intellect, passion for life and infectious enthusiasm made him friends wherever he went.

For Judy and Lee both, family and friends came first. Both will be remembered as amazing parents to their two daughters, Esmé (6) and Lila (4). Always ready to lend a hand, give a hug, talk trash about Carolina basketball, discuss their latest camping adventure, the secret to making Texas barbecue or how to organize just about anything – Judy and Lee will be deeply missed by family, friends and colleagues alike who had the privilege of knowing and loving them.

The Dirks and Lew Family


2 thoughts on “About

  1. It is with great sadness that we learned about the tragic deaths of Lee Dirks of Microsoft Research, and his wife Judy, who died in a car accident in Peru at the end of August.
    The loss of Lee means the loss of a strong and committed voice in the scholarly communications
    arena. A pertinent commentator on the upcoming challenges faced by libraries and repositories; Lee was also an early supporter of COAR and contributed substantially to the international network.
    We have lost a great person and a wonderful and enthousiastic friend and colleague.
    The COAR offers its deepest sympathies to the Dirks family. We will miss him.

  2. I attended Trinity University when Lee did. We were both published in the Trinity Review in the same year, 1987, and I came across the poem he submitted. I’ll post it here for future reference for his friends and family:

    carpe diem
    by Lee Dirks

    it didn’t take
    very long
    to write
    this poem
    now i’m
    doing something

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