Obituary of Ronald J.F. Yee

October 29, 2021

It is with great sadness that the family of Ronald J .F. Yee announces his passing on October 29, 2021 following a sudden onset and brief struggle with an ultimately fatal condition at the age of 64. A lifelong Woodside resident, Ron was born April 4, 1957, an only child of the late Walter and Betty Yee, and was survived by his wife Lily of 37 years, as well as by many nieces, nephews and cousins.

A "Technite" graduate of Brooklyn Technical High School, Ron then graduated from Queens College with honors as a Chemistry Major. He declined admission to MIT so as not to burden his parents financially, as well as remain geographically close to them, and instead opted to attend Brooklyn Polytechnic University where he obtained a Master's Degree in Transportation Engineering.

Ever the rail fan since his father introduced him to trains with a Lionel O-Gauge train set for the Christmas holidays at the tender age of three, his avocation became his profession. After a two-year stint at a NYC transportation engineering consulting firm, in 1983 at the age of 25 Ron took a management position with the newly-formed Metro-North Commuter Railroad in the Planning Department. During his 30 year tenure at Metro-North Ron contributed in many roles working his way up from Supervisor of Passenger Checkers, to Senior Planner in the Operations Planning Department, Crew Manager of the Crew Dispatching Center and as On-board Services Officer before retiring in 2013. While at Metro-North, he helped plan and operate the five excursion trains the railroad operated in 2004–2006 including the farewell to the ACMU and FL-9 trips.

After a full career Ron took retirement from Metro-North at his earliest opportunity to continue to pursue his lifelong passions - cruising the high seas with his wife Lily and traveling the world in search of a perfect train shot. He loved all trains - passenger trains, light rail, and trolleys. Ron was an avid photographer and passionate about both his shutterbug and rail fan hobbies as evidenced by his 46 year membership with the Electric Railroader's Association. Ron served on the ERA Board of Directors as Second Vice President. In addition to being the Tri-State News & Commuter Rail Editor and North American News Editor for the ERA's monthly publication, The Bulletin, Ron was also a frequent contributor to the ERA's Headlights magazine.

Likewise Ron was a loyal lifelong Mets fan, smitten by his beloved dog Tonya, and captivated by his 1980 Oldsmobile Sedan. In Ron's own words, he "lived a life without regrets." His memory lives on as a blessing.

In lieu of flowers the family welcomes contributions made to The Jean Lumb Foundation, a charitable organization that fosters excellence in young people of Chinese heritage. Ron's Aunt, Jean Lumb, was the first Chinese Canadian woman and the first restaurateur to receive the Order of Canada for her tireless community work.

The Electric Railroaders' Association has graciously offered to zoom host the November 21st Memorial Service, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Nov 21, 2021 11:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

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Dearest Lily, Our hearts are so saddened by Ron's passing. He always carried so much energy, enthusiasm and humor in our every interaction with him. We will miss him. We love you and are here for you. Love Phil and Joanna

Posted by: Joanna Mah - Markham, AZ - Friend November 21, 2021

We were so heartbroken to hear about Ronald's passing. Ron has been such a close and wonderful friend to James all these years, since junior high school age. With Ron being such a big part of James' life, in turn, we always heard what Ron had going on in his life. So many rail fan trips, train photo shoots, Met games, celebrations & get togethers, they shared over the years. And we always heard about Ron & Lily's travels throughout the world. James and Ronald almost shared a birthday, as they were born a day apart in April 1957, James one day ahead. Ronald will be very sadly missed. Our deepest and heartfelt sympathy to Lily. Sincerely, Jean & Lynn Altobello (James' Mom & Sister)

Posted by: Lynn Altobello - Parlin, NJ - Friend November 20, 2021

I know that Ronnie had turned his childhood fascination with trains into a career with the Metro-North Transit System but I didn't know, until later, of his love for classic automobiles. I shall miss our many conversations about his beloved 1980 Oldsmobile Omega and how to do auto repairs using Canadian-made products. Ronnie will be sadly missed but I know that we will all find solace in knowing that we will have fond memories of him, often. Our sincere sympathies to Lily on her loss from Cousin Gordon, Geraldine and daughter Heather

Posted by: Gordon Chan - North York, Ontario - Family November 18, 2021