Tô Lý 

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Tô Lý of Brookfield passed away peacefully on December 15, 2022, at the age of 90.

Beloved husband of Su Thi Quan. Loving father of Hai (Edna), Long, Nguyen (Mabel Wong), Tai (Dong), Lien, Lan, Phung (Bao Tran) and Toan.  Proud grandfather of Calvin and Vienna Lee; Ashton and Jayden Lee; Tri Nicholas Nguyen; Alvin, Adalina and MaiLan; and Tyler, Preston and Grace Tran.  Dear brother of Ngoc and Muoi Ly.  Further survived by many other relatives and friends.

To Ly was born in Can Tho, Vietnam, on August 22, 1932, to Chinese parents who immigrated to Vietnam. He was employed in Vietnam by the U.S. Air Force as a refrigerator repairman.

In 1978 at age 46, To, his wife, children and 85-year-old mother escaped Vietnam on a 50-foot boat along with about 200 other people fleeing communism. The family spent 6 months at a refugee camp in Indonesia, before arriving in Milwaukee in June 1979, having been resettled by Catholic Social Services of Milwaukee and sponsored by St. Pius X Parish in Wauwatosa.

To began working at Marquette University as a maintenance mechanic in the early 1980s, before retiring in the mid-1990s. His MU employment enabled several of his children to receive their college educations and earn degrees at Marquette, for which they owe their dad an enormous debt of gratitude. He also often helped restaurant friends in the Milwaukee area with refrigeration repairs.

In Vietnam, To’s family owned and operated a traditional Chinese herbal pharmacy. In America, To continued that tradition by helping many friends and family members improve their health with his medicinal expertise.

His favorite pastime was making noodles from scratch for family and friends. The delectable noodles were enjoyed by so many people over the years that they were dubbed “Grandpa noodles” even among acquaintances.

To enjoyed playing bingo and slots at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, loved tending to flowers and plants at home, was active in his local Buddhist temple, and traveled around the world, including trips to China, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Thailand and Taiwan.

He was immensely proud of his children and grandchildren.  We were blessed to have a father who sacrificed so much and who worked hard his entire life to support his family and to give us a better life.  We love you, Dad and Grandpa, and will miss you dearly.

Buddhist ceremony and Visitation will be held at Heritage Funeral Home – New Berlin Chapel, 16880 W. National Avenue, New Berlin.  On Thursday, December 29, 2022, Buddhist ceremony will be held from 3:00 to 5:00 PM and visitation hour will be from 5:00 – 7:00 PM.  On Friday, December 30, 2022, visitation hour will be from 12:00 -2:00 PM and Buddhist ceremony will be from 11:00 AM -12:00 PM and 2:00 – 2:30 PM.


  1. Rich Rohde December 22, 2022 at 7:54 am - Reply

    Being a long time neighbor I’m saddened. Such a great man and a wonderful family. My heart and prayers are with you and your family Bao.

  2. Chelsea Zhao, Eric Chu, Laina Ho, Kingyin Chu December 23, 2022 at 11:05 am - Reply

    Mr. Ly is such a nice neighbor and great friend of our family. He stopped by and chat every now and then. He always share with us his homemade noodles and our family really appreciate. We are so sorry for your loss and our prayers will be with your family!

  3. Mabel December 25, 2022 at 7:53 pm - Reply


    My family met the Ly family in 1979 soon after they arrived in the United States. The nuns at St. Anne’s convent, which was across the street from my family’s home on N. 37th, brought the Lys over to meet us since we also spoke Cantonese. It was the beginning of a four-decade relationship, one that changed the course of my life forever. Mr. Ly was the hardworking, stern yet affable patriarch of this amazing family, which we became very close to. Little did I know that 12 years later, I would become his daughter-in-law. He was always kind to me, made me feel welcome whenever I saw him and was a generous soul. Even though our two families have been bonded by marriage for over 30 years, we still call him Mr. Ly. My heart breaks for his family for their immeasurable loss. While we will miss him terribly, he lived a good, long life, and his legacy will live on in his children and grandchildren. Rest in peace, dear Mr. Ly, until we meet again. Love you and miss you.

  4. Rick and Judy Bottoni December 25, 2022 at 9:42 pm - Reply


    We met the Ly family many years ago before we were married (1980).. Little did we know we would also get a future brother-in-law, a true gentleman, from this family as well. Like so many immigrants, Mr. Ly sacrificed much to create opportunities and a better way of life for his family. Well done Mr. Ly.

  5. Chiet Fong Lee & families December 27, 2022 at 5:03 am - Reply

    My uncle , To Ly , who had a great heart , thoughtfulness and carefulness to whoever he had known of. He will be remembered by us in the highest grade

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