Lu Lee Yang, of La Crosse, passed away peacefully at his home on March 12, 2021. Lu was born on November 13, 1957, in the Northern Region of Laos, to Nhia Long Yang and Chia Lo. During the Vietnam War, Lu was recruited by the United States Central Intelligence Agency to fight in support of U.S. forces waging America’s “Secret War” in Laos. Following the withdrawal of American forces from Laos in May, 1975, Lu was forced to flee to refugee camps in Thailand, arriving first at Nam Phong Military Camp, followed by a four month stay at Ban Vinai Refugee Camp. On April 1, 1976, Lu arrived in Honolulu, Hawaii where he attended William Mc Kinley High School in Honolulu, graduating in 1978. Following his high school graduation, Lu moved to Sparta, Wisconsin, joining family members who had settled there. He later moved to La Crosse, which Lu liked to call his “hometown”.
In 1983, Lu earned his Associate Degree in Accounting from Western Wisconsin Technical College (now WTC). In 2006, he earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from Viterbo University. Prior to his passing, Lu was employed by Home Depot in Onalaska.
During his life in La Crosse, Lu was very active with the local Hmong community as well as the greater La Crosse community. He enthusiastically served his two communities in a variety of ways: President of the La Crosse area Hmong Mutual Assistance Association (1986-88); President of the Wisconsin United Coalition of Mutual Assistance Associations, Inc. (1998-1999); Member at Large on the School District of La Crosse Districtwide Parent Council (2000). In 2001, Lu was appointed, by Mayor John Medinger, to serve on the Equal Opportunity Commission.
Lu is survived by his wife, Gina Yang, sons Matthew Yang (Katie) and grandchildren Madison, Paxton, and Greyson Yang; Luke Yang (Malia) and grandson Copper Yang; David Yang (Xe) and grandchildren Logan, Leah, and Landon Yang; Thomas Yang, and daughter Mai Lia Yang. In addition, Lu is survived by his sisters Yer Yang, Ia Yang, May Chou Lo, his brother Sonny Blong Yang, many nieces and nephews, as well as many good friends in both the Hmong and non-Hmong communities.
A funeral service for Lu Lee Yang will be held on April 3 at the Hmong Cultural and Community Center, 1815 Ward Avenue in La Crosse. Burial will be at Money Creek Cemetery in Houston, Minnesota.