Frances grew up in Oakland Chinatown with her 3 sisters and brother who were her best friends. An avid reader from childhood, she would walk as much as 20 blocks to borrow books from the public library. She was an excellent student, earning her the honor of valedictorian of her high school class. At UC Berkeley she received a Bachelor’s Degree in History and an elementary teaching credential.
While at Berkeley, she fell in love and married George Harry Fong, Jr. She became a military officer’s wife and soon began 30 years of military assignments throughout California, the United States, and overseas in the Philippines and Taiwan. She was active in military wife’s groups on the various bases at which they were assigned. A highlight of this time was greeting the last Vietnam War POWs when George was Deputy Base Commander at March AFB.
Frances’s family was the center of her universe. The sun rose and set on her children, Arnie and Kathy, and their educational and career accomplishments were a source of great joy and pride. She and George became grandparents in 1975 with the birth of their first grandchild, Kelly, followed by Jason, and then Todd. In 2007, they became great grandparents which grew to five by 2016. Shortly before her passing, she learned there would be a sixth great grandchild. She said her cup runneth over.
Her faith life was also an important cornerstone. She attended Sunday School when she was a child and that began her relationship with her God. Frances was active in the Oakland Chinese Presbyterian Church where she was involved in the Women’s Organization and as an English teacher in the Language Program.
Frances was a world traveler touching every continent at least once. She had an active mind and an insatiable curiosity reflected in diverse interests from learning new languages to picking up jazz on the piano to interior decorating. To fall asleep, she would name the major battles of the Civil War!
She is remembered by family and friends alike as loving, gracious and thoughtful. Her priorities were clear: family, faith, and service to our democratic nation.
She is survived by daughter, Kathy Fong (Lance Yokota), daughter-in-law, Jean Fong, grandchildren Kelly (Maile), Jason (Milly), and Todd (Jenny), great-grandchildren Zachary, Madison, Taylor, Mahea, and Connor, and siblings Florence Tam, Esther Maynard, and Lester Lee.
In lieu of flowers, donate to: Arnie Fong Memorial Fund*, APA Democratic Caucus of Alameda County, 1319 Washington Avenue #223, San Leandro, CA 94577-7114.
*This fund was established by the Caucus to honor one of its key founders. Arnie was passionate about the development of Asian political leadership. The fund will support this goal, as directed by the Caucus Board. Frances was so proud of Arnie’s role in this organization and expressed the desire to help continue Arnie’s legacy through donations to it.
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