The Rev. John R. Lee, 60, pastor and founder of the New Redeemer Baptist Church here and a former Washington businessman, died of complications of diabetes Monday at Washington Hospital Center.

A native of Wytheville, Va., Mr. Lee was reared there and in Washington. He graduated from Armstrong High School and was certified as an electrical appliance repairman after attending the Capitol Radio Engineering Institute here.

He operated his own electrical repair business in Washington from the 1950s until 1962, when he sold the business to study for the ministry. He attended the Washington Baptist Seminary, the Washington Bible College and the University of Maryland and earned bachelor of theology and doctor of divinity degrees from the Baltimore College of Bible and Seminary.

Mr. Lee began his religious career as an evangelist, conducting crusades and revivals along the Eastern Seaboard. He served as pastor of the New Home Baptist Church here for a year before founding the New Redeemer Baptist Church in 1971. He was a member of the Baptist Ministers Conference of Washington.

Survivors include his wife, Mary E. Lee, and a son, Robert K., both of Washington; a brother, Thomas Lee Sr. of Durham, N.C., and a half-sister, Frances Grubb, and a half-brother, James Lee, both of Wytheville.