Lee Dah Peng Obituary – Times Herald-Record

May 6, 1926-August 22, 2022

Lee Dah Peng, a long time resident of Middletown, New York, and Fairfax, Virginia, died on August 22 of heart failure at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Virginia. He was 96.

Lee was born in Wuyang County, Henan Province, China, on May 6, 1926, to Changgeng Peng and Qiao Wang. He attended boarding school in Hankou, Hubei Province, during the Chinese Civil War. As routes home were cut off, Lee, together with his school mates, hiked for months to get to Xiamen, Fujian Province, eventually reaching Taiwan in 1949. Lee taught himself English by listening to The Voice of America radio broadcast. An American Presbyterian minister befriended Lee, who baptized him, and encouraged Lee to develop a friendship with his family through exchanging English / Chinese language lessons with his young son. With a good foundation in English, Lee found a job with the US military based in Taiwan. Lee worked his way up from busboy, then bartender, interpreter, and was eventually promoted to General Manager of the USAF Non-Commissioned Officers Club within the14th Air Force Officer’s Club in Taipei. He met his wife from him, a lovely young teacher, Yuan Shio-Ying Peng in Tainan, Taiwan, who happened to be a hometown girl, also from Henan Province. They were married in 1960.

While working full time with the USAF, and raising a family, Lee put himself through college at night. He earned his Bachelor degree in English from Tamkang University in Taipei, in 1969. Lee’s American GI friends told him much about America, sowing the seeds of his American Dream from him. Longing for freedom, and hopes for the future, Lee left for the US to begin a new chapter in life. I have earned a Master’s degree in Special Education in 1973 from New Jersey City University. Subsequently, he worked as a certified special education teacher for several months before realizing that in order to make ends meet while raising his family of 6, he needed to find another way. Lee defaulted to his skills of managing a food and beverage enterprise, taking a leap of faith in becoming a proprietor of his own bar. Through tireless hard work, developing nerves of steel, and being a genuinely affable and generous person, Lee was able to grow his bar businesses in New York City and Upstate New York. The last business was the Red Beard Tavern in Harris, New York.

30 years after his forced departure from China, Lee returned in 1979, as soon as US and China re-established diplomatic relations, to see his parents and relatives again. Not only was Lee generous and kind to his family, he would often go out of his way to help strangers in need. Lee traveled the world whenever he had the opportunity, especially when his wife worked for Pan American Airways.

In retirement, Lee enjoyed keeping in touch with family and friends, praying to God, listening to audio books, growing his own vegetables, and caring for animals. He was a lifelong animal lover, who was devoted to his dogs and cats, and cared for animals in the wild as well. I have lived in Massachusetts, Hong Kong, and Singapore with family for a year. Most recently, Lee lived in Northern Virginia where he made numerous friends who will miss him dearly.

Lee is preceded by his wife Yuan, who was a member of the Holy Name of Mary Church, brother Peng Zhizhong, and sister Peng Guitian. Lee is survived by his three daughters, Jenny Peng Windheim (Andrew), Alice Lombardi (Domenico), and Mary Weifein Peng; one is David Hoantee Peng; seven grandchildren; nieces, nephews, grand nieces, grand nephews, and cousins.

Funeral service will commence at 11 am on Thursday, September 8, at Holy Name of Mary Church, Montgomery, New York. Burial will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Montgomery, New York.

Read loved animals and nature. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the International Center for Veterinary Services (ICVS) Humane Animal Welfare Programs, at www.ICVSASIA.com, an animal welfare cause he had enthusiastically supported.

Arrangements were made by Millspaugh Funeral Directors.

For directions or condolences please visit www.millspaughfuneralhome.com

Posted online on September 03, 2022

Published in Middletown Times Herald-Record

Service Information


St. Mary’s Cemetery Montgomery, New York

Funeral Services

Holy Name of Mary Church 89 Union St Montgomery, NY 12549

September 08, 2022 at 11:00 AM

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