Carol Li

Obituary of Carol Suzanne Li

Ms. Carol Suzanne Li, of State College, PA, died unexpectedly on Thursday April 13, 2023 at her home.

Born December 8, 1945 in Shanghai, China, she was the daughter of the renowned geneticist Ching Chun (C.C.) Li, d2003, and Clara (Lem) Li, d2017, and sister of Stephen M. Li, d2015.

Fearing communist persecution for her father's scientific beliefs, Carol's family fled China in 1950. They immigrated to the United States in 1951, and her father became a professor at The University of Pittsburgh.

Carol was raised in Pittsburgh from age 5 and graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science in Zoology, although she often stated that a degree in Art History would have been more to her liking. Carol also studied in Taipei, Taiwan and participated in the 1968 International Olympic Games Research project in Mexico City, Mexico.

After graduation, Carol had a varied career in science, teaching, social work, and business auditing, which took her from Pittsburgh to State College, New York City, Mexico City, San Juan and Washington DC., where she remained for many years before moving back to State College. Carol worked most of her career in the hospitality industry in Washington DC, holding a variety of positions at several hotels including The Madison Hotel, which gave her extensive knowledge in all facets of world-class hotel operations.

Carol was an avid traveler and had lifelong friends all over the world whom she enjoyed visiting. She was adventurous and loved nature, taking numerous rafting trips in the Grand Canyon and driving across the country multiple times.

Carol saw humor in most things and was a master storyteller, recounting experiences both noteworthy and mundane with the same level of commitment, curiosity and amusement.

Never idle, after retirement Carol was a school crossing guard and was a volunteer driver for the American Cancer Society's "Road to Recovery" program. She had a passion for health and was dedicated to leading an active lifestyle and eating whole foods. She could tell you the schedule of every farmers market in Central PA, and she supported small, local businesses and charities of all kinds.

Carol was a very kind and generous person who always reached out and helped others. Her caring nature was remarkable — she will be deeply missed by everyone who was fortunate to spend time with her.

Carol is survived by her nephew, Jeffrey Li, niece, Juliet Li, aunts, Sara Erve, Nancy E. Lem, Grace Chapman, and many cousins on the Lem side of the family.

Carol was very active in preserving her father's legacy in genetics at the University of Pittsburgh and continued supporting scholarship endowments for students.

To make a donation in Carol's memory to the scholarship fund, please:

Go to

Enter "C.C. & Clara Li Scholarship in memory of Carol Li" in the "Where to direct this donation" box


University of Pittsburgh, School of Public Health, 130 DeSoto Street, Pitts., PA 15261 Attn: Sloan Astorino, Development

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