Cover photo for Nguey Seen Lim's Obituary
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1923 Nguey 2022

Nguey Seen Lim

May 22, 1923 — June 15, 2022

Interview of Nguey S. Lim for 99th Birthday May 22, 2022 – The Meadows Newletter

Getting to know Nguey S. Lim, mostly known by nickname: “Sam Lim”

Sam was born May 22nd,1923 in China.  He migrated to America in his early teens through Southern California where he lived and grew up in Los Angeles. 

Sam’s first job in America started as a teenager working on a chicken farm. A couple years later he got a job working in a restaurant, first as a kitchen helper; then he graduated to a dining room waiter in the historical “On Lock Sam” Chinese restaurant in Stockton, CA. “On Lock Sam” translation meaning in Cantonese is “A Contented Heart” translation.  There he also met his wife of 74 years (married 77 years, as Ella passed away 3 years ago).

After a couple of years, working together in Stockton, they moved to L.A. where Ella worked at a big Chinese restaurant, “Mon Fok Low” restaurant near downtown.  Sam then got a job at the famous restaurant in Beverly Hills called the “Trader Vic’s” in Bel Air, L.A. during late 1930’s and through the great depression, then afterwards into booming times following the WW-II era.  He served many Hollywood personalities and got good tips.  He says a $2.00 tip was big back then and greatly appreciated!

In the late 1950’s Sam and Ella opened their own restaurant, “Sam’s Café” located on Grand Ave, in L.A., CA. They served breakfast by 7am daily, then lunch throughout the day including dinner and an all-day Soda & Milk Shake counter. It was hard work he said; but appreciated the certainty and stability of being their own boss.  Unfortunately, after 15 years, that site was taken over by City of L.A. when the city bought that property from his landlord and closed their restaurant to expand the now L.A. Trade Technical College.

Afterwards, they opened in a new location near L.A. Airport, near the now Staple Center. It was a very successful business with a new restaurant trend; “Take Out Only” Chinese Fast food.  A new idea. No more setting tables or dishes to wash. No more repeatedly re-filling customers’ free cups of coffee!

They worked there until their retirement nearing 60 years old; then, sold their business. They continued living in L.A. until 1989. They then moved to Sacramento near daughter Sandra and her husband James Yee.  Of the four married children, Sam was always closest to James.

Sam and Ella had 4 children, completing a bloodline lineage (not including adopted kids) having 8 grandchildren, and 9 great-grandchildren. All his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren all continue to love Sam.

Sam enjoyed the Inglewood horse racing events and playing cards.  He really enjoyed Chinese Restaurants where he can have steamed fresh fish.

Sam is survived by two daughters, Sandra and Cindy, and their husbands James and John respectively. Also he is survived by two loving stepsons, Reggie with wife Nora, and Melvin.

Sam’s final resting place is into his pre-arranged Crypt next to Ella at East Lawn. Sam is of Christian Faith, and knows the Lord awaits him with blessings of a new healthy body, and a mansion in the sky.                                                         

Services to be announced at a later date.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Nguey Seen Lim, please visit our flower store.


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