Obituary: Sacramento dentist Douglas Yee helped chronicle history of Chinese in area

03/29/2012 12:00 AM

03/29/2012 9:02 AM

Dr. Douglas H. Yee, a Sacramento dentist who was a leader in organizations dedicated to preserving the story of Chinese pioneers in California, died March 18 of cancer, his family said. He was 62.

Dr. Yee was active in efforts to create historically accurate museum exhibits and educational projects about the Chinese in America. He belonged to the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation Committee and the Folsom Historical Restoration Committee.

As a longtime board member and former president of the Chinese American Council of Sacramento, he served as publisher and a researcher for the "Canton Footprints." The book tells about Chinese immigrants who made their way inland from San Francisco during the Gold Rush era to Sacramento.

"I wanted a book about the history of the Chinese in Sacramento because no one had ever done it before," he told The Bee in 2008. "I've noticed lots of books on San Francisco Chinatown, Stockton, Monterey, even Marysville, so I felt that Sacramento was overlooked."

Dr. Yee organized the annual Gold Rush Days exhibit for the Chinese American Council of Sacramento. He was a board member of the Sacramento Pioneer Association and the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Association.

In 2006, he was named a KVIE Local Hero of the Year for his service on the boards of more than 20 groups.

Dr. Yee was born in 1949 in Sacramento. He graduated from McClatchy High School and earned degrees from Pacific Union College and Loma Linda University School of Dentistry. He practiced dentistry for 35 years and was active in the Sacramento District Dental Society.

Survivors include his wife, Karun of Sacramento; son, Darren of Sacramento; daughter, Debra Balagtas of New Jersey; parents, Herbert and Inez of Sacramento; brothers, Randy, Alan and Wesley, all of Sacramento; and a grandson.

A memorial is set for 10:30 a.m. Friday at Harry A. Nauman & Son Funeral Home, 4041 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Karun and Douglas Yee Family Fund at the Sacramento Region Community Foundation, 955 University Ave., Suite A, Sacramento, CA 95825.

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