Cover photo for Yang Shen's Obituary
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1951 Yang 2022

Yang Shen

October 14, 1951 — April 16, 2022


Yang Shen, 70, passed away quietly on April 16, 2022 at Emory University Hospital after a protracted struggle with pancreatic cancer.  She was born in Nanjing, China on October 14, 1951.  Prior to 1949, her father, Yu Fu Shen, was the Press Secretary for Yi Shen, the Mayor of Nanjing, at that time the capital of China.  Her father was also a Professor of Chinese Literature, and from him Yang learned the skills of Chinese Calligraphy to a high degree.  She became the President of the Shanghai Luwan Calligraphy Association, and was a document specialist at the Shanghai Sun-Yat Sen Museum (Zhongshan Guju) at the former residence of Sun Yat-Sen.   After the Communist takeover in 1949, while Yang was a small child, her father was labeled a counter-revolutionary, and was sent to a concentration camp in the desert of Qinghai China for four years, leaving Yang and her two siblings with her mother in Shanghai.  The communists tried to pressure her mother, Yu Xiu Pu, to divorce her husband, but she refused. After her father's return, he was placed under house arrest for 20 years, during which time Yang and her family were ostracized publicly and were subject to beatings and raids by the Red Guards.  Yang saved the life of her father when she met with a rabble of communist agitators who were on their way to seize her father and execute him.  Yang managed to warn her father and he escaped.  When Deng Xiao Ping took power, she was able to go to Japan to study, where after experiencing many hardships, she received an N1 First Certificate in Japanese Proficiency.  She also exhibited calligraphy in Japan.  She immigrated to the US in 1993 and became a naturalized US citizen.  Her bold and florid calligraphy has found its way into collections in and around Atlanta and far beyond.  She was remembered as the Chinese Calligraphy Master in a dramatic, spontaneous and vocal open debate at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta between the Japanese Zen Buddhist Calligraphy Master Fukushima Keido Roshi and herself in 2003.  She is also remembered for her singing of popular Japanese and Chinese songs.  Yang was employed as an Accountant and Ocean Import Manager by Nankai Transport International in Atlanta for 25 years, retiring in November 2021.  During the same week she retired, she received a diagnosis of advanced pancreatic cancer, and spent the next four months at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota where she received treatments.  She is survived by her loving husband of 26 years, Joseph Valles, of Stockbridge, GA, and sisters Hui Shen and Qi Shen, both of Atlanta.  Yang was a soft-hearted person with a sweet personality, and a dedicated Calligrapher who loved nature, home and music.  She was a phenomenal cook, and received training as a chef in Japan, specializing in Shanghai Chinese and Japanese cuisine.  She deeply touched many hearts during her life.  Original examples of her calligraphy and those of her father and mother will be donated to the Smithsonian's Arthur Sackler Museum of Asian Art in Washington, DC.


Visitation will be at A. S. Turner & Sons, 2773 N Decatur Rd, Decatur, GA 30033 on Wednesday, April 20, 2022 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM.


The graveside service will be at Resthaven Cemetery, 2284 Candler Rd, Decatur, Ga 30032 on Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 10 am.


 


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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

6:30 - 8:30 pm (Eastern time)

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Graveside

Thursday, April 21, 2022

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Resthaven Garden of Memories

2284 Candler Road, Decatur, GA 30032

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Burial

Resthaven Garden of Memories

2284 Candler Road, Decatur, GA 30032

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