EILEEN L. PEI

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PEI--Eileen Loo, died peacefully at home in New York City on June 20. Born on September 21, 1920, in Tientsin, China, she was the daughter of Ping Yok and Alice Chang Loo. Her father was an early Chinese graduate of MIT, earning his engineering degree in 1916. Her maternal grandfather was Yin Tang Chang, Ambassador from China to Washington beginning in 1909. Her granduncle was T'ang Shao-Yi, first Prime Minister of the Republic of China (1911-1912). Eileen Loo came to the United States in 1938 to attend Wellesley College, where she studied Art, was a Senior Wellesley College Scholar, and received her degree in 1942. Immediately after graduation, she married Ieoh Ming Pei, a young architect recently graduated from MIT's School of Architecture. He followed her to Harvard and its Graduate School of Design, where she studied Landscape Architecture and where he received his Master's Degree in Architecture in 1946. During the war years, her husband worked with the National Defense Research Committee in Princeton, NJ. Their first son, T'ing Chung, was born there in 1944. After the war, they returned to Harvard where, upon earning his degree, Mr. Pei joined the faculty. Their second son, Chien Chung (Didi), was born in 1946. Eileen and I.M. Pei moved to New York in 1948 when Mr. Pei was recruited to work for the real estate developer William Zeckendorf. A third son, Li Chung (Sandi), was born in 1949 and Eileen Pei embarked on her career of raising three boys and supporting her husband. In 1960, a daughter, Liane, was born, to the elation of the parents. Her husband's career flourished. In 1952, she sailed across the Atlantic Ocean with him to Europe on traveling fellowships he had earned while at Harvard. This was the first of many trips they would take together and with the family where everyone would benefit from her impeccable organization and preparation. Always forward thinking, she was an ardent supporter of Planned Parenthood, Channel 13 and WNYC, and an active and longtime member of the Cosmopolitan Club in New York. Together with her husband, Eileen Loo Pei befriended many of the most influential artists and dealers of the time, particularly those that were concentrating in New York in the 1950's and 1960's. They were frequent participants in the broad cultural life of both New York and beyond, and intimate gatherings at the Pei home were welcomed events, memorable for their animated conversation, fine wine and her delicious cuisine. Possessed of a keen eye, unfailing taste and an abiding passion for the arts and culture, she was a constant and indispensable support to her husband and family, providing wise counsel, warmth, good humor, and practical, loving advice on all matters. She was known by all for her effortless style, elegance and grace. Eileen Loo Pei is predeceased by her eldest son, two brothers, Harry and Man Kit, and one sister, Louise. She is survived by her husband of 72 years, two sons, her daughter, two daughters-in-law, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family requests with great appreciation that donations be made to Planned Parenthood, Channel 13 or WNYC..


Published in The New York Times on June 25, 2014
Arrangements under the direction of:
Frank E. Campbell The Funeral Chapel
1076 Madison Ave | New York, NY 10028 | (212) 288-3500
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