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Lisa Yip, who ran Sea Breeze Cleaners at 1420 Castro Street for more than 20 years, died suddenly on July 23 of cardiac arrest. She was 58 years old. She and her husband Jim Yip had been running Golden City Inn on Silver and Third Street when they started Sea Breeze in 1979, one block away from their present location. In 1984, they purchased the building of the former Synergy School and have been there ever since. Jim Yip died in 1996.
Lisa Yip leaves three sons--Justin, 32, Jeremy, 37, and Jason, 38--who intend to continue to run Sea Breeze and their other shop, Wind Water Cleaners, on Monterey Street.
"We've been here a long time," Justin Yip says. "Our parents bought this building from the Synergy School, which was located right here. They kept the painting the school kids did of the cityscape, and we plan to continue to preserve it."
Lisa Huie Yip was born in China's Canton province in 1949, moved with her mother to Hong Kong two years later, and then arrived in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1954 to join up with her father. The family came to San Francisco in 1958 and Lisa attended St. Mary's Day School and Galileo High School. Her brothers Arthur and George, and her sister Jane, were all born in the United States.
Jane has many fond memories of her big sister, including sharing their room with a huge stuffed panda that Jimmy, who would become Lisa's husband, had won for her at the Portsmouth Square Fair during Chinese New Year.
Son Jason remembers his mom as a "woman warrior"--able to work late hours at the laundry but still retaining the energy to indulge her hobbies--one of which was playing the slots in Reno. That she had such strength makes it difficult to imagine her gone at such a young age, he said.
A memorial service was held for Lisa Yip at Evergreen Mortuary of McAvoy O'Hara Company in the Richmond District. Many of her longtime customers were present at the services. Lisa Yip is buried next to her husband at Hoy Sun Memorial Cemetery in Colma.