Her Life

Gracia Lee described by her friends and family

Gracia Lee Word Cloud

Her beautiful life

Gracia was born in Chengdu, China in 1943 during the Second World War. She was a descendent of the distinguished Hsiung and Liu families on her maternal side. Her maternal grandfather was a medical doctor and her great grandfather was the governor of three provinces Sichuan, Yunnan, and Guizhou. Her other great grandfather was a prominent general in the Chin Dynasty and was regarded as an influential person and national hero in modern Chinese history defending Western China. When the Chinese communists took over mainland China in 1949, the family escaped to Taiwan with the National Forces and her father became a 2 star general in the Chinese Air Force in Taiwan. She graduated from Shin-Ju High School (新竹) and National Cheng-Tsi University (政大) majoring in accounting and statistics. After graduation, she came to the United States on scholarship to study business at Illinois State University. She met and married her husband Tony Lee, who was working on his doctoral degree in physics in New Jersey. Subsequently she completed her MBA at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey.

Gracia’s career started while in graduate school when she was hired by Chase Bank as an accountant with their international banking operations. She then took a few years off to care for her 2 young daughters, Tzielan and Siemay, while Tony was launching his career in plasma physics. The family settled down in the Pittsburgh area and when their younger daughter Siemay was in preschool, Gracia reentered the work force as a staff accountant with Volkswagen of America. She was promoted several times becoming an accounting supervisor. In 1985 Tony was recruited by General Motors R&D Center in Michigan and Gracia was able to transfer to the Volkswagen US headquarters in Michigan. There she became a financial analyst and eventually joined the controller’s office as an assistant controller and oversaw all fiscal operations for Volkswagen in the US. Gracia retired in 2002 after a successful and fulfilling 25 year career.

Under her guidance her daughters became successful medical doctors, and she provided endless sage advice, wisdom and insight throughout their lives.

Gracia was highly principled and valued loyalty, perseverance, integrity, family, and friendship. She was full of empathy even towards complete strangers. As a young girl, she would share her new year’s red envelope money with the homeless. She taught her daughters the importance of kindness and generosity. These characteristics led others to seek and trust her friendship and advice.

Gracia’s overwhelming selflessness and strive for perfection were two of her most prominent traits. She was devoted to the welfare of her family and took on the responsibility to care for everyone. Her preparedness allowed her to anticipate and avoid adversity.  She was always thinking ahead of how to improve everyone’s life.

She volunteered time with Chinese American organizations advocating community service and equal rights. She loved the outdoors and organized summer camping and fall color trips for family and friends. She visited over 40 national parks and over 50 countries on 6 continents along with taking over 30 ocean cruises. She also enjoyed playing golf, cooking delicious homemade meals, and spending time with her four grandchildren, Tyler, Vienna, Maxwell, and Zun.

She passed on June 8, 2021 and is missed tremendously by family and friends.

Final chapter of a beautiful life

With great sadness we share that our dear mom has departed this world on June 8, 2021  As some of you may already know, our previously healthy and vibrant mother, Gracia Lee, was unexpectedly diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer on May 8th.  She was having symptoms of fatigue, decreased appetite, and weight loss for only a few weeks in April.  We became concerned about her health and flew to Michigan to see how she was doing and we subsequently brought her to the ER for evaluation.  There she was found to have a pancreatic mass with metastases to the liver.  She was at first hospitalized in Detroit but then we decided to bring her to California to be closer to family and pursue palliative treatments at Stanford.  Just before more evaluation could be done she suffered multiple strokes on May 17th. This was likely caused by the cancer making her at higher risk for blood clots.  She was hospitalized again and given her worsening weakness and effects from the stroke, we honored her wishes to bring her home with hospice to pursue comfort care and be surrounded by family and love.  The quick onset of symptoms to her diagnosis and eventually to her passing was unbelievably short.  Our family is devastated but we cherished the time we had with her at the end of her life.  Thank you to all who reached out and were worried and concerned about her health.  We deeply appreciate everyone's love, prayers, and support for her and our family.  
She would not want any of you to be sad thus please take time to reflect on the wonderful memories you had with her.
Tzielan and Siemay