Long-time dental education leader Dr Herbert K. Yee dies at 96

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July 15, 2021

Sacramento, California – Herbert K. Yee, DDS, philanthropist and longtime leader in organized dentistry and dental education, passed away on June 26. He was 96 years old.

Dr Yee

Dr Yee held many positions including on the ADA Council on Dental Education – now known as the Council on Dental Education and Licensing – from 1968 to 1974, and as Chairman from the California State Board of Dental Examiners and the International College of Dentists.

Additionally, Dr Yee was a longtime champion and supporter of the University of the Pacific and the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, where he graduated in 1948, when she was called the College of Physicians and Surgeons. He served on the school’s board of regents from 1972 to 2005.

“Dr. Yee’s more than 30 years of service on the university’s board of trustees are emblematic of his passion for our alma mater,” Norman Allen, current chairman of the board, said in a statement. “His support for Pacific and its students, especially Dugoni, has made our university greater and enriched the lives of countless students. We are indebted to him for his service.

Born in Toishan, Guangdong Province of China in 1924, Dr Yee immigrated to the United States at the age of 6 with his younger brother and mother to join their father, who had a civil engineering degree from the University of Michigan. The family would move to Sacramento.

While attending Stanford University in the early 1940s, Dr Yee met and married his wife, Inez. After dental school, he will return to Sacramento to open a dental practice where he practiced for 54 years.

According to his obituary, Dr Yee also served as the staff dentist for two California governors, Pat Brown and Ronald Reagan, who appointed him to the California State Board of Dental Examiners.

As a member of the Board of Regents, Dr Yee helped create a scholarship for students of the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. He also helped create a scholarship fund for students at California State University, Sacramento, who are accepted into American dental schools. In addition, he led the construction of a school in his hometown in China and ensured that scholarships were available for the top performing and most demanding students.

In 2018, for all of his services, the California Dental Association Foundation awarded him its humanitarian award.

“I have had tremendous accomplishments throughout my life,” Dr. Yee told the CDA Foundation in 2018. “To be honored as this year’s recipient means a lot to me because I love my profession and I am happy to be recognized for everything I have done.

Dr. Lee is survived by his brother, Franklin Yee; sister, Carolee Lim; sons, Alan and H. Wesley; as well as nine grandchildren. A funeral service was held at East Lawn Memorial Park on July 3, with a celebration of life to be held in the future. Instead of flowers, the family suggests charitable donations to the Asian Sacramento Valley Community Center, the Sutter Medical Foundation, the California Museum, and the California State Railroad Museum Foundation.


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