Julie Ly Yip-Williams
Julie Ly Yip-Williams, beloved wife, mother, sister and daughter, passed away on March 19, 2018 at the age of 42, following a long and fierce battle with advanced colon cancer. Julie was born January 6, 1976, in Tam Ky, Vietnam and was of Chinese descent. She emigrated from Vietnam to Los Angeles when she was nearly four years old and grew up in Monterey Park, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. She graduated from Williams College in 1997 and from Harvard Law School in 2002.
Julie was a corporate lawyer and also an author. Her blog, which provides an exquisitely detailed portrait of her battle with cancer and an account of her life during the nearly five-year period that followed her diagnosis, touched thousands of lives and inspired people from all corners of the globe. Although Julie did not write the blog with the intention of commercializing her work, through a series of serendipitous occurrences the blog was picked up by Random House and is being converted into a book that we all ardently hope will make a difference in people’s lives. Julie wrote honestly and unflinchingly of her ordeal and articulated universal truths that resonate with anyone. One of her central goals was to cut through the dishonesty, obfuscation and sugar-coating that seem to surround cancer and to allow people a window into the genuine experience of dealing with cancer at such a young age, in the hopes that others might draw comfort and wisdom from her words.
Julie was many things—a brilliant scholar, a talented attorney, a fantastic writer, a lover of life who traveled to places as far-flung as the South Pole, Egypt, Jordan, Bangladesh, the Galapagos Islands, Paris, China and Vietnam, among many others, a lover of fine food, a fantastic cook who owned probably fifty cookbooks and could produce (good) restaurant-quality food, a voracious reader and yet also an avid and unapologetic binge television-watcher—but even more fundamentally, she was a loyal and loving person who put her family first. She was a wonderful wife who was a best friend and ally to her husband Josh in a tough world, a Chinese Tiger Mom who loved her daughters infinitely but wouldn’t accept mediocrity from them, a loving and concerned sister, daughter, cousin and friend. She was a tour de force of organizational ability—as her husband loved to say (and she loved to hear), she was a “model of efficiency, organization and clarity,” and she ran a tight, firm ship, but her hand ultimately was always guided by love and concern for those of us who were fortunate enough to cross her path. Her circle of friends encompassed many parts of the globe and included people of all religions, ethnicities, political persuasions, sexual orientations and occupations. She touched thousands of lives with her blog and her brave fight against Stage IV colon cancer. Although she was born with congenital cataracts and was not able to recover normal vision following emergency surgery during her early days in the United States, her limited vision never stopped her from living a rich life full of adventures and accomplishments.
Julie is survived by her husband, Joshua R. Williams, and by her daughters Mia Seng Williams (8) and Isabelle Yip Williams (6), all of Brooklyn, New York. She is also survived by her siblings Lyna Yip of New York and Denton Yip and his family (Angel Moon, wife, and Carter and Adrian Yip, Julie’s nephews) of Palos Verdes Estates, CA, as well as by her parents Peter Yip and Ann Yip of Monterey Park, CA. Finally, she is survived by her beloved cousins Caroline Yip Hendley of Westport, Connecticut and Nancy Yip Ramos of Los Angeles, whom she considered sisters, and by Chipper, her much-adored bichon frise.
Julie died peacefully, surrounded by her family and close friends, in a warm, sun-splashed room of the apartment she so meticulously planned and designed. Her loss is a crushing blow to all of us, and we all loved her so very much. We will always remember her and will hold her in our hearts for eternity. Julie fervently believed in an afterlife, and our most ardent hope is that she is in a better place, one in which she will one day be joined by her loving husband.
Julie, as our daughter Belle was so fond of saying, we all love you “to infinity” and we always will. Goodbye for now, my love.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Colorectal Cancer Alliance in Julie's name. Donations can be made online at https://fundraise.ccalliance.org/blue-star-tributes/julieyipwilliams or mailed to: Colorectal Cancer Alliance, 1025 Vermont Avenue NW, Suite 1066, Washington, DC 20005.