Yen (Sonny) Lee born June 21, 1933, long time chef at the Monte Carlo Restaurant in West Springfield, MA, passed away peacefully Thursday morning surrounded by his loving family in Atlanta, GA. He leaves behind Alice, his wife of 57 years; his daughter May Arvin and her companion Darrell of Jacksonville, FL; his son Gene and his wife Victoria of Tucker, GA; and his daughter Donna DiGiovanni and her husband Michael, of Lowell, MA. In addition to his wife and children he also leaves behind four grandsons, Dean and Adam Arvin of Jacksonville, FL; Evan and Joseph DiGiovanni of Lowell, MA; a sister from Los Angeles and brother from Springfield, MA; and several nieces and nephews. Services are private.

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  1. May you Rest In Peace Sonny! Thank you for all the wonderful memories you have given us through the years. May you rest in the peace of the Lord! Love you, Diane and Art DiGiovanni and family.

  2. Uncle Sonny, we will miss you. If it were not for God’s work through you and your wife, Alice, I would never have met my beautiful wife, Allison, for it was the two of you who sponsored her family of five: your brother Seng, his wife Mae, and their children, Allison, Lillian, and Joey. You took them into your own home for many months until they were successfully transitioned into jobs and a home of their own. I will always remember, and I am indebted to you for what you have done. Thank you, Bill, Allison, Michael and Joseph Desormeaux.

  3. It is of great sadness we learned of Sonny’s passing. Please accept our heartfelt condolences and we hope that in a small way they help through this trying time. Prayers of peace to you and your family.

  4. Rest in Peace now Sonny! We will remember all the funny times getting together with Sonny and of course all the great food! He was such a remarkable man. He is in our thoughts and prayers, may God bless his soul.

  5. Mr. Lee, I remember going to your garden as a little kid in the summer time and being amazed. I remember how kind you were and how excited you were about not only showing us your garden but your love for life. May you rest in peace.

  6. “Sonny” Lee will live on with me as he was like an Uncle to me. His beautiful wife Alice was an Aunt. Their 3 children were playmates and cousins! My memory’s of times with Sonny’s Family is massive! I am just so saddened at his passing. I can still hear his voice! He was always checking up on me with “Harold you still working?” I remember my last dinner at The Monte Carlo Restaurant before I left for San Francisco. I shall have a Chinese meal and dedicate it to Bok, my mum and YOU this Sunday! I love you Uncle and give my mother a hug for me. Rest in peace you dear, dear man.
    ~ Harold Montgomery

  7. My heart goes out to Sonny’s family……Alice, May, Gino, and Donna! For you ALL my deepest, heartfelt sympathy! xxxx

  8. My sincere heartfelt condolences to the Lee family. I was lucky enough to meet Sonny many years ago on one of my trips to western Mass. I worked with your son and his girlfriend Vicky at the Colonial and after they left we made several trips to out there. I remember meeting Sonny while visiting and all I can remember was how much he made us laugh and how he made us feel at home. Fond fond memories. May he Rest In Peace with God

  9. Alice, Gino, Vic, May and Donna. Paul and I were so saddened to hear of your dear husband/father’s death. He was such a sweet man and such a great family man. He will be missed by all who knew and loved him.
    May precious memories bring you comfort.
    Love, Fran and Paul Demenkow

  10. So thankful to have had sonny in our lives. Such a kind loving man. Will keep Alice and all of your family in our daily thoughts that you may find peace and comfort in your memories. Rest in peace Sonny. Love, Shawn and Anne and family.

  11. I’m so sorry to hear about sonny. He was such a great man and always knew how to make you laugh with his corny jokes. He will not be forgotten ! You guys are in my prayers ! Much love ❤

  12. Alice and Lee Family.We are so very sad to hear of Sonny’s passing. Sonny was a gentleman and a very kind person. I remember going over to visit Sonny, Alice, May, Gene and Donna.Sonny would insist that I stay for awhile and eat. There was always plenty of food to go around. Just in the past two years we had a visit from Sonny, Alice, May and Darrell. We shared some great memories from many years ago over coffee and cake. We had a great visit.. God Bless Sonny, Alice and the Lee family We will never forget you Sonny Lee. Love From The Warren’s

  13. Rest in Peace, Grandpa. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be where I am today. You came here at such a young age from China facing obstacles that would be hard to imagine in today’s time, all to provide for your family. With sheer determination and insane work ethic you went even further by building an incredible family here in America and raised three awesome kids who are now the best Aunt and Uncle one could ever have and a tremendously wonderful mom that provided and triumphed over adversity just as you did. It is because of you that today I am here surrounded by great family and great opportunity in this world… and also know how to make more than just a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the kitchen! Although I never got to tell you in person, thank you for everything you have done in this world to provide and build an amazing family.
    Rest in Peace, Grampa.

  14. May and family, we are so sorry to hear that your Father/Grandpa passed. Coundolences goes without saying, our prayers will be with you and your family. Hugs to all!

  15. Rest in piece sonny! You were an amazing man who loved everyone and was loved by everyone. We will remember all the good times we had together and all the delicious food you used to make too. We love you!

  16. I am so so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers go out to your family.
    Sonny was always very good me and I loved him dearly.

  17. I was so saddened to hear of your loss. Your memory will always be an integral part of my heart. I could not have found a nicer person for a friend and neighbor. I truly miss our friendly talks and get togethers and I thank God every time I remember you. May your family find peace in their many wonderful memories of you, and may you rest in peace my friend.

  18. I have so many happy memories of our times with the Lee family. Our more than 40 year friendship was really very special to Steve and I. So Sonny’s. passing has really rocked our world. My heart goes out to all of his wonderful family. Losing such a caring life force is especially hard. Know that his strength is a part of each of you and he would want you to enjoy life as fully as possible, and that he is watching over you from above. Goodbye old friend until we meet again.

  19. So many nights of Uno, so many rolls of the dice, so many opportunities to gather and share the important thing in life: time together. Thank you Sonny for gracing me with your kindness, humor and your inner child who knew how to play.

    Alice, May, and Family, while each of us will grieve in our own way for the loss of our loved ones, each of us will feel heart ache, with a remembered smile or funny moment our heart aches, when wanting to share our day or a moment our heart aches, as the days pass our hearts still ache, maybe a little less as time passes but ache it will. But that ache is the reminder of the love, the joy, and the laughter Sonny poured into our hearts, whether over a lifetime or a moment, over a meal or a card game. The joy, the love the laughter, poured in much like a deposit into a bank, so that in our time of need we can draw on that reserve and it will seep in the cracks and fill the hole that his absence makes.
    I know your loss and so my heart aches, this is… as love should be.

  20. May and family:

    I’m so very glad I got to meet Sonny. I thoroughly enjoyed playing games of dice and Uno with him. He was a joy to play with and thinking of him always brings a smile to my face.

    I’ve always felt that saying “I’m sorry for your loss” is so inadequate in moments of grief like this but that is all I can ever think to say. Please know that I am thinking of you and that Sonny also brought smiles to my life and he will be missed.

    My thoughts are with you
    Danibeth

  21. Your many memories of Sonny will help get through this difficult time of loss. Sonny was the most loving and kind man who I have had the pleasure of knowing for the past 25 years, Remembering all the times he prepared so many awesome meals and snacks anytime day or night visiting his home. Visiting Alice and Sonny when they came down to May’s and having them visit me in my home too.

    My love and prayers to you all.
    Jean

  22. Alice, you and your family, May, Donna, Gino, and grandsons, are in my thoughts and prayers. I will always remember Sonny sitting on the porch at Gino’s and Darrell’s watching TV and smoking his cigars. Also, Sonny had the colors of the Uno cards down pat. He was pretty good at cooking, too. He passed that talent down to Gino. Alice, you are always welcome in my home. He will be missed but not forgotten.

  23. May:
    Your dad has passed on to a place where there are no more worries or pain. He will forever be immortalized every time you look in the mirror, recall a funny story, or quoting phases he would say that you repeat often around family and friends. He will never be forgotten because he is you and you are him.

  24. To my uncle, I will forever will be greatful to you for bring  our family to the U.S and opening your home to us.  I dont know how we  would’ve assimilated life in the US as easily without your and aunt’s help and generosity.  Putting a roof over our heads, getting my parent jobs, setting up schools for my sisters and I.  To this day I still have so many fond memories of living at your home.  I remember you showing me on television this thing called WWF wrestling,  I was hooked instantly and I think that how I first learned English.  Probably make sense now for my lack of vocabulary skill and poor grammar.  I also remember the many thanksgiving dinners over the years and looking forward to the turkey rice soup bring home. And spending many Christmas at your home opening presents and dinners. Although we haven’t been as close over the years as we have gotten older but you have and will always be in our hearts and minds.  You will be solely missed. 

  25. Since I have spent the last six days with Sonny’s family, I am now back in Jacksonville and have a few minutes to reflect on Sonny’s life and his impact on everyone. For one, I have always been awed by Sonny’s immigration to America at a young age with a few bucks and not understanding English. It is hard to imagine doing that but Sonny figured it out. He was able to find a good wife in Alice, have great kids in May, Gene and Donna and become an outstanding chef. Gene absolutely has his Dad’s cooking genes. Sonny had a wonderful sense of humor, patience and calmness about him. It’s hard to believe he’s gone, but he is not forgotten. I always looked forward to seeing Sonny and Alice, smoking a stogie and having a brandy with Sonny and playing card games or bingo with Alice and Sonny. I will always remember Sonny as a brave, kind, loving and funny man. Take care Sonny, you will be missed.

  26. Dad, I miss you more than words can say. You came to the U.S. from China at such a young age not knowing anyone or speaking any English. Years later you met Mom & shortly after that I came along. I was the oldest of three. You & Mom did a great job raising us despite the hardships. I remember when you worked three jobs & we had one car. You took in Mom’s parents & we had three generations living under one roof. I know it was hard for you to let me join the Navy but you let me be independent & find my own way. You were always there for us whenever we needed you & I know you still will be although not physically but spiritually now. You will forever be in our hearts. Rest in peace, Dad. Lots of love, your first born.

  27. I and Therese and our family are so sorry for your family’s loss. I have wonderful memories of meeting Sonny in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at PS23 in NYC as teenagers, then living together in our bachelor pad and working together. I remember our trips to the Aqueduct and Belmont Race Tracks to bet on the ponies. Good times! I will also remember our work together in Springfield, MA, and staying with Sonny, Alice and May, during which first daughter was born. Our families may have lost touch during my moves to Alabama and California, but it was great to reconnect recently, You will be missed!

  28. Rest in peace, grandpa. You came to the United States when you were young and got got so far despite having nothing. You went threw a lot to provide for your family and get them to where they are today. I wasn’t there when you passed, but I sure wish I was. Although I didn’t really say it I appreciate what you have done for this family and what a great grandfather you were. You always had something funny to say and knew how to cook some nice dinner. We will all miss you.
    Rest in peace, grandpa.

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