In the 1940s, her family moved from mainland China to Taiwan, where Nai-Li grew up and became a teacher. In the 1970s she married John Yee and made Colorado her new home. She became a U.S. citizen and worked for the State of Colorado for nearly 30 years. From the 1980s through the early 2000s, she and John led numerous tours to China, with an emphasis on cultural themes for Colorado educators.

Jason Chen, a family friend, speaks to the audience at Nai-Li’s reception.

Nai-Li helped found the Colorado Chinese Language School, where she taught for 35 years and was the principal for many years. She has also served in the following organizations: Colorado Chinese Club, Vice President; Denver Chinese Cultural Center, President; Double 10th Celebration Committee of Colorado, Chairwoman; Chinese American Council of Colorado (CACC), Chairwoman.

In 2008, she received the CACC’s Lifetime Community Service Award and was their regional representative to Taiwan, where she met with then-President Ma Ying-jeou. In 2011, she received a Teacher’s Award from the Overseas Community Affairs Council of Taiwan. In 2014, she received the Asian American Hero of Colorado Award.

Nai-Li Yee Scholarship Fund

For more than a decade, Nai-Li served as the Board President of Colorado Asian Culture and Education Network (CACEN). In honor of her life and legacy as an educator, CACEN has created the Nai-Li Yee Scholarship Fund. Donations to the fund will provide annual scholarships to the students at Colorado Chinese Language School where she taught for 35 years. Donations can be made at:

Donations can also be made to Scleroderma Foundation at Nai-Li had been diagnosed with scleroderma, a chronic connective tissue disease.

Jeanie Johnson, Co-Chair of Denver-Kunming Committee shares memories of Nai-Li and her husband John Yee

Sophia Cheng and Christina Yutai Guo

Fran Campbell and Patty Quinn

Students of Nai-Li: Jonathan Yeh and Annie Guo VanDan