Sichi "Satch" Li

August 7, 1937September 16, 2012

Sichi “Satch” Li was born August 7, 1937 in Amoy, China to I-Ying and Pao-Ming.

His father I-Ying moved to the US to pursue his academic studies when Sichi was young, leading to early childhood years of relative independence, and offering him plenty of opportunity to exercise his naughtier boyhood tendencies. Shades of this playful insouciance would emerge throughout his life. At the same time, this period instilled in him an ability to be self-sufficient, resourceful, and altogether handy.

Sichi, his younger sister Si-ju, and Pao Ming immigrated to the United States after the war, joining I-Ying in Tacoma Park, MD, where Sichi would spend his teenage years. He eventually headed to the University of Maryland, graduating with a degree in business, and becoming a lifelong albeit occasionally tepid fan of the Terps.

Following graduation, he was accepted into OCS, fulfilling his dream of service to his country as a US Marine. Commissioned as a second lieutenant, he served for 6 years including a tour in Vietnam, and earning multiple decorations. He rose to the rank of Captain prior to his honorable discharge in 1968. Family legend, or perhaps just the “romantic fool” side of him, has it that he would have stayed a career military man had he not fallen for and started a long distance relationship with a certain young teacher at Travis AFB.

Sichi and Nora Der wed on July 5, 1970. By then Sichi had joined the FBI, the 6th ever Chinese-American to do so. Stationed in the Seattle, New York, and finally the Los Angeles offices, he served as a Special Agent in the Bureau for 25 years until his retirement in 1994.

In retirement, Sichi worked on his golf game, devoted most weekends to the care of his mother in Corona del Mar, completed any number of home improvement projects, waited patiently for grandchildren, and expanded the family travel regimen beyond the well-travelled Newport Beach, San Francisco, Las Vegas axis. A favorite trip was the annual national meeting with his buddies from the retired FBI agents association, the last of which would provide the setting for his final days, where he enjoyed good food, great weather, and the company of cherished friends. In a final act of service, Sichi’s last request to be an organ donor was fulfilled.

Sichi is survived by his wife Nora, his children Michelle and Rick, his sister Si-ju and her husband Hal, and his mother Pao-Ming.

Donations may be made, in Sichi's name, to: The Wounded Warrior Project: The Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI: Westminster Presbyterian Church Deacons Fund: (checks only, please specify, "Deacons Fund")


  • Memorial Service Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sichi "Satch" Li

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October 10, 2012

As I am preparing to attend my 55 year Northwestern High School reunion this next week, I remember "Satch." I am sad that he will not be able to attend, but remember him very fondly.

Carolyn Herbert Messerly

October 9, 2012

Dear Nora, Rick, and family,
We are so saddened to hear of your loss - You will be in our thoughts and prayers.
Rick, I hope you will come by for a visit when you are in the area.
Our deepest condolences - praying that your faith, and the support of your spiritual family sustains you all at this.

Judy & Barry Blades

October 5, 2012

To Nora and Family:
I've always referred to our block in Westlake Village, CA as "Mayberry, RFD".

Satch was a big part of that. Just about every morning when I left for work, Satch would be outside giving me his friendly wave and encouraging smile: no matter how the day was pre-programmed in my head, that warm greeting brought me back to the reality of what is important in life. I will treasure the memories. God bless and comfort your family.
Ingrid Isaksen,EBHC,WLV

Chuck Post

October 4, 2012

You were a vital spirit at Northwestern. It was always a treat to see you and talk to you. Keep that smile always and always.

October 4, 2012

Whenever I would drop in to visit Nora and talk about Tai Chi, Sichi always greeted me with a smile and kind words. He has a way of making one feel welcomed. I will miss his greeting.
Stella Matsuda

Quincy Ewing

October 4, 2012

I knew Satch at Northwestern High School, but had no contact with him afterwards. However, the Satch I knew came alive again in his obituary. Absolutely nothing came as a surprise. My condolences to his family. He was one of a kind, and I am honored to have known him, if only briefly.

Ray & Roxie Holm

September 29, 2012

We will miss Satch on our street here in Westlake Village. We competed to see who would get the American flag up first on the National Holidays and he alway had it down before sundown. We were not as punctual. Our best to Nora and family and thank you for the wonderful service honoring Satch.

Charles Tian

September 28, 2012

Uncle Satch was one of the very few uncles I had in the US and he served as my paragon throughout my life. At the age of 12 during our first hand shake he taught me that a man's shake should be strong and firm. I remembered and followed that piece of advice till this day. Although I saw uncle Satch only a few times a year, but each time I learned something valuable from him and over the course of 12 years uncle Satch and Nora have guided me through many difficulties in my life. I will always remember uncle Satch as a true hero, family man, and golfer. RIP uncle Sichi, we miss you.

Liz Der

September 28, 2012

There's a story of Uncle Sichi being my hero and rescuer. I was of a young age and tied to the crib because I had a tendency to climb over the railing. My parents, in their wisdom, didn't want me to hurt myself. Uncle Sichi untied me and of course the first thing I did was climb over the railing and I was gone. I think it's a great story. I guess he felt sorry for his niece being tied up.

Van Magers

September 26, 2012

I had the honor of working with Sichi in New York forty years ago, and I quickly learned to appreciate his sense of humor, his dedication, and his friendliness. In the years since then, he didn't change. Though I didn't see him often after he moved to Southern California, I still think of him often and fondly.