Lasting Memories

Ansie Lee Sperry
Sept. 20, 1914-July 13, 2018
Portola Valley, California

Ansie Lee Sperry died in Portola Valley, California on July 13, 2018 at age 103. Born in Macao on September 20, 1914, Ansie grew up in Hong Kong in a traditional Chinese family as one of fourteen children in a household with four mothers. Sent to England for her education at the age of nine, she returned to Hong Kong four years later after her father’s murder. During the Sino-Japanese war she volunteered for the Chinese Red Cross in the interior of China, working briefly as secretary to Madame Chiang-Kai-Shek (Soong Mei-ling) in 1939. In December, 1941, Ansie was traveling on a ship that put into Manila Harbor just as the Japanese attacked and she became a civilian POW in a Japanese internment camp in the Philippines for over three years. She wrote about these experiences in her memoir, “Running with the Tiger,” published when she was 94. Ansie married Henry M. Sperry, whom she had met in internment camp, in Shanghai in 1946 and lived there and in Hong Kong until Henry retired from his banking career. Ansie and Henry moved to Portola Valley, California in 1973 and to the Sequoias-Portola Valley in 1990. An accomplished artist and flower arranger, she was on the altar guild at Christ Church Episcopal, Portola Valley for many years and golfed at Menlo Country Club until age 90. Ansie is survived by her son, Fred Sperry of Redwood City, and her daughter, Vicky Sperry Merchant and son-in-law Jim Merchant of Portola Valley, two grandchildren, Joshua Merchant and Liana Brown and three great-grandchildren, Robert Merchant, Henry Brown and Dylan Brown.