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Caroline Chin Yee Obituary


Memories & Candles

“I only recently heard of Carolynn's passing and wanted to recognize her dedication to Oakland and students of OUSD. Carolynn was a tireless advocate...Read More »
1 of 5 | Posted by: Valerie Abad - Oakland, CA

“Still thinking about our conversations about the Oakland public schools. And all you did for Oakland students. ”
2 of 5 | Posted by: Miles Myers - Oakland, CA

“Mrs. Yee was my 3rd grade teacher at Sequioa Elementary School. She was energetic and always came up with new ideas to supplement the lessons. Her...Read More »
3 of 5 | Posted by: Neema McCockran - Oakland, CA

“We'll always remember Caroline's vibrant spirit and our shared love of gardening. ”
4 of 5 | Posted by: Cindy & susan - Oakland, CA

“I remember the good times we had in the 70's and 80's when I lived in the bay area: Seafarers fellowship meetings, dinners, bike rides, run/walk at...Read More »
5 of 5 | Posted by: Wai-Tse Siao - South Pasadena, CA


Caroline Chin Yee Beloved Oakland educator Caroline Yee passed away after an unexpected illness in Oakland on February 21, 2013, surrounded by family and friends. Caroline was born on August 12, 1944 and lived most of her early years in Oakland's Chinatown. The youngest of five siblings, she attended Lincoln Elementary School, Westlake Junior High School, and Oakland Technical High School. She attended Chinese Independent Baptist Church, where she accepted Christ as her savior, taught Sunday School and led the youth group, Souls for Christ. Caroline commuted by bus to the University of California, Berkeley, and took classes with Gary, who would one day be her husband. They graduated in 1967, and Caroline spent an additional year at Fresno State College to obtain her teaching credential. They married in December, 1968, and Caroline joined Gary on Guam, where he was stationed with the Air Force. She began her teaching career at Anderson Elementary school there. They also spent a year in North Dakota, where Caroline received her MA in Counseling. They returned to Oakland in 1971, and Caroline began her long career as an educator with the Oakland Public Schools. She taught at Martin Luther King Jr., Washington, and Sequoia elementary schools. A stint as a Fulbright Exchange teacher in Edinburgh Scotland, solidified her interest in hands-on science and arts education. She obtained a $100, 000 grant, "Live Wires", for Sequoia, and in 1992 she made a detour to Mills College to become a science educator for the LITES program , which provided high quality, hands-on professional development for Oakland teachers. She subsequently became a principal at Hillcrest, Emerson, and finally Lincoln School, ending her career where her love of learning was first kindled. She received numerous awards for educational leadership, but she was proudest of those which pointed to the collective effort of the entire school. She retired in 2008. Her message was always the same: "Have fun! Learn a lot!" Throughout her career, Caroline believed in engaging students, and she delighted when students could see things from different perspectives, and share their learning with others. She sponsored science camps, science fairs, art fairs, music in the schools and beamed when students proudly shared their work with parents and others. Caroline was active in numerous community education activities as well, including Harbor House, Faith Network of the East Bay, Junior Center of Art and Science, Cantare con Vivo (in school programs), Wa Sung Club, and most recently, the East Bay Children's Theater. As a principal, she strived to bring out the best in every adult who worked with children, either directly or indirectly, but she could also be firm when correction was warranted. She also served as an adjunct professor in Elementary Education at Holy Names College. Caroline and Gary were members at First Presbyterian Church, Berkeley, Fruitvale Presbyterian Church and College Avenue Presbyterian Church. Over the years, they also became foster parents on three occasions. A generous gifter, Caroline helped start "Gift World" at FPCB, where people could sponsor projects that served communities around the world and close to home. Caroline loved travel, the sun, and, of course, visiting her grandchildren. Favorite destinations included Japan, Newfoundland, New York City, visiting family and friends, any beach near an ocean, and anywhere with her siblings. She enjoyed live performances, movies, Downton Abbey, John Grisham, her garden, and just snuggling. Caroline is survived by her husband Gary, daughter Lisa Ko, and two adult children and their families- Chris (Laurel Joe, Sierra and Kayla) and Susan (Scott Hoshida, Twyla and Jiyo). Caroline was preceded in death by brother David, and leaves two sisters, Janice and Jennie, a brother, Jerome, and countless nieces and nephews. The community will miss her, but she also leaves a legacy as a caring educator of young and old, an enthusiastic performer with limitless energy, a community advocate unafraid of raising tough issues with integrity, and a loving sister, aunt, wife, mother, grandmother, and travel buddy. A memorial service will be held on March 16 at 10am at First Presbyterian Church Berkeley, 2407 Dana St. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to any of the community education organizations listed above.

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