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Nancy Yee


1933 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Nancy Yee Obituary
November 18, 1933 - September 24, 2016 A journey that spanned two continents. Nancy Yee was born Sun Chu Wong (New Pearl) on November 18, 1933 in Guangzhou, China. Little did her parents (Cheong Sai and Fung Lee) know that she, the youngest of 11 children, would become a relentless businesswoman, active community organizer, actor, wife, mother and grandmother. Nancy resided in Guangzhou until the family moved to a small village in the Toishan Province to escape the perils of World War II. In 1949, the family moved to Hong Kong to escape a civil war. In Hong Kong, Nancy was able to pursue her interests by attending the prestigious True Light High School. She was an active participant in all of the school plays. Outside of school, Nancy apprenticed at a Chinese Opera studio and took a variety of dance and singing workshops. Upon graduation, it was natural for her to pursue her interest in acting and was accepted into the Shaw Brothers Studio's Acting Academy. The studio asked her to choose a stage name and she chose "Wong Bok Hung." However, her studio contract could not keep her from pursuing another interest. Once she met and fell in love with a young handsome American soldier, Tommy. She then decided to enter a new contract - one that would last over 60 years Nancy would move to America in 1954 to be with Tommy. The two of them settled in Santa Cruz, California where they established a laundry business with Tommy's parents (Fong Yit Hong and Wing Tong). It was there that the ever-loving couple began their own family and welcomed their first child and daughter, Emma. The three of them would later move to Los Angeles, which they would call home for the next 58 years. The family continued to grow in Los Angeles. Nancy and Tommy were blessed with three more children: Victor, Annie and Timmy. Nancy was recently named "Outstanding Parent of the Year" by the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association. As the children grew older, Nancy became a working mother. First, as an at home seamstress and later at Occidental Insurance. Eventually, she started her own business in Chinatown, "Sunshine Printing and Stationery." She lobbied to open up the first Post Office in Chinatown at the store. Sunshine Printing would be a fixture of the community for over 35 years. In addition, she helped at her husband's restaurant, "House of Yee" in Encino. The Chinatown business helped her develop a lifelong interest in service to others, especially the Chinese and Chinese American community. Due to her dedication to meeting the needs of the community through her store, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce recruited her to be their Executive Secretary. She was pivotal in bringing and establishing art programs in Chinatown. She was also very integral in arranging a Chinatown visit by President Bill Clinton. Nancy also became a member of the Chinese Historical Society and participated in the development of the Chinese American Museum. She joined the Chinese American Citizens Alliance (C.A.C.A.), one of the oldest civil rights groups in America. There she served many terms on the board, on many of the committees, and was a three-time delegate at their National Convention. She was also the C.A.C.A. representative for the Los Angeles Chinatown Business Improvement District. Her work in Chinatown culminated with her election to the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council for Council District 1. She also served as a Monterey Park Arts and Culture Commissioner for several years. Nancy was also able to resume her acting interests. She appeared in several movies and television series including: 3rd Rock from the Sun; The King of Queens; My Name is Earl; The Sarah Silverman Show; Enemy of the State, Disclosure; Kiss the Girls; That's My Boy & Dumb and Dumber To. Nancy also did voice overs and commercials for companies such as "Land Rover" and "Hewlett Packard." Her favorite was a Wing Hop Fung commercial because her husband costarred with her. She also performed in live theater. She was a cast member of the East West Player's production of "Wong Bow Rides Again." She had a long collaboration with the Cornerstone Theater Group. Her first Cornerstone show was a "A Beautiful Country" for which she wrote her own monologue about immigrating to America. The powerful monologue was later published in Chay Yew's book. Her other Cornerstone shows included: "Broken Hearts" at the Los Angeles Theater Center, "A Long Bridge over Deep Waters" at the Ford Amphitheater; "For Here to Go" at the Mark Taper Forum and "Lighten Up" at Hsi Lai Temple. Cornerstone recognized her artistic work by honoring her with the Trailblazer Award. Nancy loved being with family and friends. She enjoyed trying new restaurants especially Dim Sum eateries, shopping, playing the penny slot machines and going to concerts and shows. She enjoyed traveling with her family including her grandchildren: Michelle and Michael. She traveled to Paris, London, Tokyo and countless times to Hong Kong and cities in China. Like her husband, Tommy, she enjoyed road trips in the family station wagon. This past summer's road trip, she returned to visit her first home in America, Santa Cruz. Nancy has a new home in heaven now. She is reunited with Tommy where the two of them are dancing the night away, having special dinners, and doing what they enjoyed the most which is being together. Nancy is a star in the skies. Whenever we look up we'll see her star brightly shining on us. Nancy is survived by her children Emma, Victor, Annie (Stanford) and Timmy; grandchildren Michelle (David) and Michael. Viewing on Friday, October 7, 2016, 5:30-7:30PM. Service on Saturday, October 8, 11:00-12:30PM. Universal Chung Wah, 225 N. Garfield, Alhambra 91801. Nancy was loved by all who knew her. We will miss her dearly.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Oct. 1 to Oct. 8, 2016
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