Historian Him Mark Lai once told a reporter he had about 10,000 books in his San Francisco house.
He inspired young Chinese Americans by helping them research their roots. He was, as historian and friend Judy Yung recalled, a giving person and a “walking encyclopedia.”
Working in both English and Chinese, Lai authored more than 100 essays and 10 books, including A History of the Chinese in California, A Syllabus. He was, as people said, the “Dean of Chinese American History.”
Lai, 83, passed away on May 21 from cancer and other complications, the San Francisco-based Chinese Historical Society of America said in an email to supporters. He is survived by Laura, his wife.
On June 20, friends and admirers will hold a 2:30 p.m. celebration of his life at the Chinese Culture Center, 750 Kearny St., in San Francisco.