- Business Advocacy
Lisa was born in Shanghai, China, as Xiaoyan Mao in 1985. Her father, Xun Mao, and mother, De Heng Li, moved their family to the United States and settled in Alhambra. Lisa attended Mark Keppel High, graduating in 2003. She discovered a love of photography and art studying graphic design at Cal Poly Pomona, graduating in 2008. She was a beloved art teacher at Wang Lei California Art Academy, teaching young children’s art classes from 2007 to 2015. As the sole wage earner for her family, she also worked full time for Sam Ng at Farmers Insurance.
She met fellow artist Dahveed Kolodny-Nagy in Hollywood in 2014, and they began working together on art and animation projects before the two were married and had their daughter, Nova, in 2017. That same year they opened TOYZILLA, a local Alhambra retail toy store that became a popular stop for collectors. Together they hosted panels and signings and coordinated events that included SuperHero Summer Fest Alhambra. In 2019, Lisa formed Tochirama, a toy production company, with Dahveed, Tu Huu Nguyen, and Kenneth Nguyen. The first toy she coordinated will be finished in the coming months.
Lisa took Nova out of school as the pandemic worsened, becoming a full-time mom and home school teacher for Nova. Unable to work the store, she found a new career as a stock trader looking after the family investments. While celebrating Nova’s 4th birthday on Feb. 4, 2021, at Mt Baldy, Dahveed, Nova, and Lisa were involved in a fatal collision while sledding.
Nova was in critical condition and is now recovering from multiple brain injuries. Lisa sadly did not survive. Friends are invited to attend a memorial service for Lisa from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday, June 25, at Forest Lawn, 21300 Via Verde St., Covina 91724. The service will take place at the Columbarium of Sheltered Reflection niche #8034. The event will be live-streamed with information updated at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/153166149075.