The Greater Cincinnati Police Museum
“Preserving the History of Law Enforcement in the Greater Cincinnati Area”
Ben was born March 16, 1931, in Cincinnati, to Chinese immigrants Sham and Lily Wong Yee. On August 18, 1944, Sham became the first native of China ever to file application for American Citizenship in the United States. Prior to a Congressional repeal, Mongolians were proscribed from naturalization in the U.S.
Ben attended Walnut Hills High School where he was a starter and co-captain for the Public High School League champion basketball team, sang in 2 choirs, was the Sophomore Class vice president, sat on the Student Council Executive Committee, and participated in/on the Gym Team, Volleyball Team, Latin Club, and other extracurriculars. He graduated in 1949. He attended the University of Cincinnati, beginning in 1954 and ending in 1959, majoring in Marketing. By 1961, he earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Xavier University.
While attending college, Ben worked as a Clerk for the City of Cincinnati’s Department of Urban Development.
In the midst of his higher education, on January 17, 1955, Ben enlisted in the United States Army. He trained as a 2nd Lieutenant in Artillery at Fort Bliss, Texas and shipped to Korea, serving in Inchon for almost two years. He was honorably discharged as a 1st Lieutenant during July 1960.
After returning home, Ben was appointed to a position within Urban Development.
He transferred to the Cincinnati Police Division on April 3, 1966 as an Administrative Assistant 2 and was assigned to the Records Section. From 1966 to 1969, the second-to-none law enforcement ‘paper records’ unit in the nation was setting up to participate in the first countywide electronic database in the world. When the Regional Crime Information Center went on line in 1969, AA2 Yee was promoted to Business Manager and transferred to the Cincinnati Recreation Commission. He also served as an administrator in the Health Department. He retired on July 31, 1985 with almost 35 years of service to his country and community and Cincinnati City Council commemorated his service by naming it Ben Yee Day.
He continued his service with the University of Cincinnati and Hamilton County government. Then he cofounded The Camera Department and worked there until at least 2004.
Ben also sang in The Kings Men, Colerain Summer Chorus, and the St. Ignatius Choir. Starting in 1963, he coached women’s softball and within 4 years gained such a reputation at it that he was featured in an Enquirer article.
Ben passed away peacefully in his home on Sunday, April 22, 2018 at the age of 87.
He was predeceased by his brothers, Joseph (Catherine) Yee and William Yee, and brother-in-law Joseph Williams. Ben is survived by his wife of 50¼ years, Mary Martha (Naltner) Yee; children, Jennifer (Erick) Greber, Michelle (Matt) Louis, Ann (Rebecca) Yee, Ben (Heather) Yee, and Will (Jenna) Yee; grandchildren, Grace, Jack, Nick, Will, Kai, Evie, and Quinn; sister, Hope (Maurice) Lee and sisters/brother-in-laws, Barb Williams, Jeanne (Jim) Frede, and Dick (Barb) Naltner.
Visitation will be held 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Friday, April 27, 2018 at Mihovk-Rosenacker Funeral home at 5527 Cheviot Road. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:30 a.m. at St. Ignatius Loyola Church on North Bend near I-74, immediately followed by a reception in Hilvert Center.
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