Lee, David T. H., 1915-1988

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Lee, David T. H., 1915-1988

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  • Li Donghai

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David T. H. Lee, or Li Donghai, was born in 1915 in Taishan, China. Lee’s grandfather, Li Yiyou (1856-1925), moved to Portland, Oregon in 1880 and until 1908 owned a laundry business there. Upon his return to China he owned several family businesses. Lee’s father, Li Shiliang (also known as Li Binqiu or Lee Pin-ch’iu, 1888-1935), inherited the businesses from Yiyou. David Lee earned a Bachelor of Arts in history from Xiamen University. After working as a teacher at Guangfu School in Singapore from 1937 to 1939, Lee returned to China with his family. When the Communists took over mainland China, Lee and his family fled for Hong Kong. In 1953 the Lees immigrated to Victoria, British Columbia where David took a post as the principal of the Chinese Public School, which he held until 1966. Lee authored the 1967 book A history of Chinese in Canada, which was the first book on the subject. For ten years he was the secretary of the Chinese Consolidated Benefit Association (CCBA), and was vice president of the association from 1983 to 1984. Lee was also involved with the Hoy Sun Benevolent Association for Taishan immigrants in Victoria, and in the Chinese Nationalist League in Victoria. He died in 1988.


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