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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, February 21, 2002

Retailer, beekeeper Lee Ong Chun dead at 85

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

Lee Ong Chun, business owner and secretary with the Hawai'i Beekeepers Association, died Feb. 18 in Honolulu. He was 85.

Lee Ong Chun ran the Chun Lee Tong market in Kalihi.
Chun was born and raised in Kalihi. He joined the U.S. Army during World War II and served in China, where he met his wife, Uriel M. Moy of Boston.

After the war, Chun returned to Honolulu to operate the Chun Lee Tong Supermarket, founded by his father. The pink store was a landmark at the corner of School Street and Gulick Avenue until it closed in 1975.

Although no longer in the retail business, Chun remained active as a volunteer, president of the TIGR investment group and member of the See Dai Doo Society.

He also was a member of the Hawai'i Beekeepers Association. His son Douglas said Chun got his start in the business as a baby sitter for another son's single hive.

"When (my brother) left to go to graduate school, someone needed to tend the bees, and he told him, 'You know that if you harvest the honey, it's $18 a gallon' — and that sort of got him interested," Douglas Chun said.

Lee Ong Chun remained active in the association for 20 years and performed honeybee demonstrations in schools and at the Hawai'i State Fair. When police and fire received calls about swarms of bees, they often would call on the beekeepers for help.

Chun is survived by his sons, David and Douglas; daughters, Gloria-Jean Hoo, Bonnie-Belle Chun and Carol-Sue Hipsher; three grandchildren; brother, Lee Sum; and sisters Yuk Yao "Jadine" Yip, Yuk Chan Nuuhiwa and Yuk Ip "Jean" Fong.

Visitation is tomorrow at 6 p.m. at O'ahu Cemetery Chapel, with services at 7 p.m. Burial takes place Monday at the National Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl at 11:30 a.m.