May Lee Yook Chung

Posted On October 2nd, 2015 -

$nameMAY LEE YOOK CHUNG We have lost our beloved mom, grandmother, aunt, teacher, friend, and book editor, and Chinese community civic supporter. May Lee Yook Chung was born in an apartment above a laundry run by her father in Richmond, Virginia on September 30, 1927. Her parents were Lem Tong and Chin Shee who immigrated from Canton, China to set up their business on Adams Street in that southern city. Her only brother, Yorke Chong, was married to May Lee’s best friend, Emma Wee Chong. After attending Madison, Binford, and John Marshall schools in Richmond, May Lee attended Westhampton College, the women’s college of the University of Richmond (UR). She was truly fond of her years in Richmond as the daughter of a laundry man, and as a school girl, and college student who was raised in the Southern Baptist church, often telling poignant stories about the friends, teachers, and neighbors she loved, and who loved her for her steadfast loyalty, smarts, kindness, and love of Chinese culture. In her words, she had wonderful years in Richmond and at UR with professors, friends and experiences that helped shape her life. After graduation from UR in 1949 she moved to Winchester, VA where she taught middle and high school English. To this day she is still close to several students at John Handley High School’s Class of 1960. In 1958 she moved to Honolulu, where she taught at Waipahu High and then McKinley High teaching and advising The Daily Pinion newspaper and The Black and Gold yearbook for 25 years. Soon after arriving here, she had a lovely, quick courtship – or, as May Lee called it: “The Golden Man of the Pacific met and fell in love with the Chinese Teacher with a Southern Accent”. She married Raymond W.L. Chung on June 14, 1959. Both she and Raymond taught at McKinley High School and jointly retired in 1986. In addition to the daily school newspapers and 30 yearbooks she advised, she edited many publications for the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Hawaii and for the Associated Chinese University Women. Most notable works include “Traditions for Living, Volumes I and II”, “Pioneer Chinese Women”, “Celebrating 100 Years: Chinese Chamber of Commerce, 1911-2011”. Her last edited project, which she worked on until May 2015, is “ACUW Family Favorites Cookbook”. She has come a very long way from the laundry on Adams Street in Richmond, Virginia. May Lee is survived by her husband, Raymond Wai Lum Chung, her daughter, Katharine Maile Chung Cooke (Dougas Cooke) of Portland, OR, her son, Raymond Kalikiano Chung (Kate Baldridge) of Santa Fe, NM, and four grandchildren: Noah and William Cooke, and Glynis and Declan Chung. Her nieces are Nina Chong, SF, CA and Nancy Owens, Lake Waccamaw, NC. Private interment will be held at Punchbowl Cemetery on Friday, October 2, 2015. Visitation and memorial service will be held at 4:30 pm on Saturday, October 3, 2015 at Atherton Chapel on the grounds of Central Union Church. A Chinese dinner reception for guests at the services will follow at The Mandalay Restaurant.


- Denotes U.S. Military Veteran