KEN YEE

Posted On November 11th, 2012 -

KEN YEE
Ken Yee, the second son of Yee Kam Chong and Wong Kam Oi passed away peacefully on October 29th. Born in 1913, he grew up on a duck farm near Ala Moana with his twelve siblings. After graduating from McKinley High School, he won an electrician apprenticeship at Pearl Harbor Navy Shipyard, where he learned his trade working on submarines and battleships. In his early twenties, he earned enough money to buy his first car and drive across country, exhibiting a passion for adventure and a sharp curiosity that characterized his entire life. He was married to the love of his life, Nancy Wong, for 65 happy years. In 1948 he started his own marine electrical service company, KEMS Inc., which handled all of the electrical work for Matson Navigation and other shipping lines. Nancy and Ken were close partners in business and life. They became avid ballroom dancers and travellers. Deeply interested in Chinese history and culture, they co-edited “Chinese Pioneer Families of Maui, Molokai and Lanai,” a collection of oral histories telling the early Chinese immigrant experience in Hawaii. After retirement at the age of 62, Ken returned to school. He bought a bicycle so he could ride to classes at the University of Hawaii where he earned his B.A. in Chinese and his M.A. in Asian Studies. A talented scholar, fisherman, craftsman, and cook, his greatest joy remained his family. His survivors include children Roy, Sylvia and Susan Yee, seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren as well as two brothers, Don and Arthur, and three sisters, Violet Schmidt, Florence Smith, and Lily Sutherland. A memorial will be held in the spring. Donations may be made to Palolo Chinese Home (www.palolohome.org) or to McKinley High School Foundation for college scholarships (1039 S. King St., Honolulu, HI 96814).


- Denotes U.S. Military Veteran