Lydia Wan Liu, beloved wife, mother, and grandmother died on December 21st, 2015 in New York City. She was 69. She passed from complications of interstitial lung disease at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Cornell Medical Center.
Lydia was known for her incredible devotion to her family. Selfless in her work ethic, Lydia sacrificed in ways small and large to make the lives of those around her better, while always being sure to impart her knowledge, experience, and wisdom to others. While often seen eating simple meals of noodle soup, she never hesitated in introducing her children and grandchildren to the wonderful tastes of lobster and sushi. Lydia’s relationship with Joie and Ryan was a special one, with each visit marked by a thoughtfully chosen gift, meant to expand the young children’s minds in some meaningful way. All knew her generosity of spirit, and she never hesitated to send thoughtful presents to teachers, friends, and acquaintances. Lydia was also known for her incredible inner strength and determination. She would drive over 80 miles a day to her job in Flushing, crossing the George Washington bridge at a relative snail’s pace of 40 miles an hour, oblivious to the impatient 18 wheeler trucks beside her. In smaller ways, she took this resolve to provide the best for her family, whether it was a waterfront table at a new seafood restaurant, or searching countless stores to find the perfect winter jacket for her sons.
Lydia’s grasp of the local real estate markets were legendary in her family, and it seemed she always had the Midas touch when it came to picking out investment properties. She once said that she had “a dream of passing on real estate pearls” to her children and grandchildren. But at one point, she bought a property that gave her pure joy-a waterfront cottage in East Quogue, near the Hamptons in Long Island. Lydia loved watching the waves roll in, and digging for clams in the sand. In her own words, Lydia felt like she bought “a house with a dream…in the evening the bridge lights looked like pearls in the velvet dark night.”
Lydia was born on February 28th, 1946 in Shanghai, China. In 1961, she moved from Shanghai to Hong Kong to attend the Sacred Heart Girls’ High School and Tseng Kwang (真光) Girls’ High School. In 1964, Lydia immigrated to the United States and enrolled in Nazareth College in Kentucky. She transferred to the University of Wisconsin in 1967, and met her future husband Peter Liu, who was a graduate student at the time. On the shore of Lake Mendota, a friendship and love developed. Lydia graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics in 1969, and moved to New York City shortly thereafter with Peter. In 1972, Lydia married Peter Liu in New York City, and the couple celebrated the first of their firstborn son, Raymond Liu, in 1975. They raised their child initially in Staten Island, NY, but moved to Short Hills, NJ in 1979. During this time, Lydia worked as a computer programmer at the Church Pension Fund Insurance Company. In 1980, their second son was born, and named Peter Liu, Jr. In 1983, Lydia took the opportunity to work with her father and brother with the establishment of Wan Development Corporation, as Executive Vice President of Sales, Marketing, and Finance. During this period, Lydia was involved with the development of hundreds real estate projects, focusing on the growing Flushing, NY market. In 1995, she transitioned back to computer programming, working for the Pershing group, a division of the Bank of New York Mellon. In 2008, Lydia retired from BNY Mellon.
In recent years, Lydia spent time traveling with Peter, visiting such places as Barcelona, Istanbul, and the Amalfi Coast. She was always sure to find a meaningful memento of her travels for her grandchildren, such as nesting dolls from St. Petersburg, or an umbrella filled with scenes from Rome. But some of the best memories were simple travels to Montauk with her husband, or the Jersey shore with her grandchildren.
Lydia will be deeply missed. In the words of her friend, Jean Lee, “Lydia was one of the most pure-hearted and loving persons I have known. I am much comforted by the assurance of her new life in a better place with her Lord because of her unwavering faith.”
She is survived by her husband, Peter, sons Raymond and Peter Jr., and grandchildren, Joie and Ryan Liu.