Nguey Seen Lim

May 22, 1923 - Jun 15, 2022

East Lawn Memorial Park
4300 Folsom Blvd
Sacramento, CA, 95819


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.


  • Tyrell Williams says:

    In Prayers 🙏 Condolences and Prayers to the family and friends of this very well loved and well Cared for and knowledgeable and respected and remarkable man and person RIP. And for the family to heal ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  • Meri Lew says:

    My condolences to the family.

  • Ann Miura says:

    Dear San and Jim – This is Ann from H.S. We are saddened to hear of your loss. I read your Dad’s story and your parents lived such an amazing life together. Our sympathies and prayers to you and your family. With love, Ann, Keli and Scott & his family.

  • Frank D'Orsi (Francis) says:

    So very sad to hear of your father’s passing. He lived a remarkable life and has a remarkable family that loves him and will forever remember him for all the great memories that he provided. Though sadness prevails and he will be sincerely missed, it is hoped that in time, though the pain may remain that cherished thoughts of his memory and what he means to everyone he touched will be forever remembered and embraced.

  • Samantha Wong English says:

    I will always remember Yeh-Yeh’s jook/congee from when I was a kid. It opened my eyes to authentic Chinese cooking. I didn’t know jook could taste so good! Such simplicity and comfort in one bowl.
    My grandfather showed me that it takes time and diligence to make something great. Eating jook will always remind me of Yeh-Yeh. He was such an amazing person.

  • Judy Eng says:

    Dear Sandy and Jimmy
    My condolences and prayers to you and your family. Its amazing how hard our parents worked to earn a living and raise us. They are all reunited now and enjoying their new life in heaven.

  • Tim Yee says:

    Goong Goong Grandpa Lim was always the most kind man. I still remember his unashamed frugality and hard-work ethic. One time at the grocery store he was buying apples and at the cash register he started to twist off the stems from each apple. My Dad Jimmy says to him, “Dad, why are you taking the stems off? Are you trying to make it weigh less?” He replied, “Every little bit helps…” He was such a good man and a great cook. I am comforted knowing he lived a long and fulfilling life and got to meet his great grandkids. We will see you in heaven.

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