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American Saddlebred World Loses Yum Kee Fu

Published Date: Sep 07, 2018

A faithful friend and generous supporter of the Morgan community and United Professional Horsemen's Association, Yum Kee Fu, passed away Sunday, August 26th after a brief illness.

Kee, also known to many as "Father Fu," was a driving force behind the family who owns the Morgan breeding farm Dragonsmeade in Winchester, Kentucky. Kee and his wife of 57 years, Susan (McKinley) have been the ultimate horse show parents, cheering on their daughters, their friends and the results of their breeding program. Daughters Iann and Ling are avid competitors in the Morgan show ring, frequently showing horses carrying the family prefix. The Fu's agreed their children realized many of the best qualities of life being raised surrounded by the Morgan community.

Yum Kee Fu was born in Macao in the mid-1930s. He came to the United States as a foreign student when he was in his mid-teens, and went to school in Connecticut. He attended the University of Michigan, then transferred to the University of New Mexico to study architecture, and enjoy the warmer weather. It was there he met Susan and devoted himself to her for decades of happy marriage.

Beloved in our community as an avid proponent of all things Morgan, Kee was known to the outside world as an award winning architect. He designed homes and other buildings with a modern, minimalist scale incorporating natural elements such as water, sunlight and gardens. His structures exist on both coasts of the United States, especially in the areas of Key West and San Diego, both places he loved. He designed on the international stage, as well, with high rise apartments, office buildings and hotels in Hong Kong.

"Designing anything should be in harmony with nature," Kee said in a 2017 interview with equine journalist Suzy Lucine. "Any design should create and should meet the peaceful environment and peaceful nature of life."

He went on to say, "Throughout most of my life I have lived near the sea, ponds or streams. The sound of running water and the waves are always in my head."

This quiet man was rarely more engaged than when observing beauty in the world around him, whether that involved nature, fine arts, architecture or the creations planned by his family in the Dragonsmeade breeding program.

Kee's quiet, steady hand in all things made him the rudder guiding the ship of his family. He oversaw the design and construction of their homes, he planned the details of the farm in Kentucky, and he and his family have personally insisted on a caring approach to all the animals they stewarded from the weanlings in their fields, their precious broodmares and retired show geldings living in the pastures at Dragonsmeade. Dogs, as well as horses, were constant companions.

"I enjoy my work as an architect," he has said, "but spending time with my family is most important to me."

He is survived by his wife Susan; daughters Ling (Wylie) and Iann (Longenecker); Sons-in-law Rob Wylie and Geoff Longenecker; and grandchildren Mac Wylie, Andrea Longenecker and Devin Longenecker. Siblings and cousins far away in Hong Kong, Germany, and throughout Europe, along with relatives in the United States, mourn his passing as well.

While quiet, modest, and humble are adjectives many would use to describe this special man, those who knew him well will also remember him as highly passionate about everything he treasured-his family, his many friends, his beautiful horses and the bounty of nature he saw around himself.

The Fu family has requested the following charities be considered for any donations made in his honor:

* The New Bolton Center Veterinarian Hospital, by contacting Margaret Leardi 484-653-7686 or mleardi@vet.upenn.edu. Please include a note designating the gift in honor of Yum Kee Fu. 

* The United Professional Horsemen's Association Dewey Henderson Benevolent Fund Trust: 4059 Iron Works Parkway, Suite 2, Lexington, KY 40511,  info@uphaonline.com or 859-231-5070.

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