Lee, Chi-En, of Marlborough, MA, passed away June 17, 2020. Predeceased less than three months prior by her loving husband of 68 years, Ching-Wen Lee, she is survived by her devoted son and daughter-in-law, Harry and Eileen Lee, of Quincy, MA; the families of loving nephews Al Wei of Toronto; Paul Wei of East Lansing; Naxin Li of Washington D.C.; and generations of relatives in China, her birthplace.
At age 11, she led two younger sisters on a refugee trek up the Yangtze River from Wuhan to Chongqing to escape the Japanese while her parents stayed behind to take care of still younger siblings. Due to that harrowing experience, she grew resilient, self-reliant, and devoted to Christianity as she followed her mother’s orders to kneel and pray whenever she did not know what to do during that trek.
She immigrated to the United States to join her husband in 1959, ultimately settling in Knoxville, Tennessee, before moving with her husband to Marlborough, MA in 2004 to be close to family.
When she landed in the United States, she spoke no English. She subsequently graduated from college, and had careers as a hospital dietitian, alterations tailor, gift shop owner. She grew a garden once selected to be part of the Knoxville Dogwood Arts festival; sold home-made tofu; taught Chinese cooking and Tai Chi; sang in choirs; knitted, did macramé, quilted, …. She had close friends everywhere; was an incredible mother and wife; was always looking to help whomever, whenever; played a mean game of mah jong and ping pong, …. She will be missed.
Due to the pandemic, services will be private. Chi-En will be laid to rest at Cedar Grove Cemetery in Dorchester, MA, next to Ching-Wen and her daughter-in-law’s parents. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to New Horizons at Marlborough, 400 Hemenway Street, Marlborough, MA 01752 (attn: Finance Administrator) where she resided contentedly for 15 years.
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