Pauline Pao-Ling Mao Koo, 83, of Alameda, CA went home to be with her Lord and Savior on Monday, February 17, 2020.
She was born on September 7, 1936 to Edward and Gertrude Mao in Jiujiang, Jiangxi, China and was the youngest of three daughters. Pauline attended Chung Chi College (now the Chinese University of Hong Kong) and Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia.
Pauline is survived by her daughter, Katherine Ng and her husband Richard of Castro Valley, CA; son Keith and his wife Sueying of Fremont, CA; grandchildren, Jessica, Jennifer, Olivia and Orion; elder sister, Irene Mao of Silver Spring, MD; niece, Georgiana Hsu-Luk and nephews, Eric and Lester Hui. Pauline was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 54 years, Johann, her parents and eldest sister, Lillian Hsu.
Pauline’s early life was marked by a tumultuous period in China’s history with a series of defining events. As a young girl she witnessed the horrors of the second Sino-Japanese War as the Japanese invaded China. Her father was an expert in chemical engineering educated in the USA and was a professor at the elite Fudan University in Shanghai. The family had to move often at the direction of the Chinese government to support war efforts. Following the defeat of the Japanese on V-J day, her father worked on reconstruction efforts in Indochina amidst his growing concerns of the rising power of communists who would see his American influence and education as a bad element. With these concerns in mind, and by God’s grace, Pauline’s family was able to re-settle into Hong Kong several years before the communists officially came to power.
Once settled in Hong Kong, Pauline thrived in her new environment. As a very gifted and well-rounded student, she enrolled in the prestigious Bethel High School (which had originated in Shanghai, China prior to the communist regime.) It was during her Bethel days that she met classmate, and future husband Johann. During these years she was known to be very gregarious, always surrounded by friends and enjoyed swing and ballroom dancing, movies and bible studies. Pauline also was encouraged to participate in beauty pageants and placed first runner-up in one of them. While Pauline was known for her active social life and her beauty, she was also a top student which led to her being accepted to Chung Chi College where she started her undergraduate studies. From Chung Chi, she was offered a full scholarship to Wesleyan College - the United States’ first women’s university and the first university of Madame Chiang Kai-shek.
Following Wesleyan, she moved to Silver Spring, MD to join her parents who had been granted a special request to emigrate to the USA under the Refugee Acts (enacted during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations) due to growing concerns of the communist takeover of Hong Kong and her family’s partnership with the US government since the late 1800s. During this time, her seven-year courtship with Johann continued via correspondence until his graduation from the University of California at Berkeley as one of the first Chinese to receive an M.B.A. After their wedding in Washington D.C. Johann and Pauline made their home in Alameda and raised their family there. Pauline loved the charm of Alameda and was happy to be a 55+ year resident.
Pauline was a loving and dedicated wife, mother and grandmother. She loved to spend time with her family and friends and was happiest in her care and feeding of others. Many recollect her keen memory and excitement for birthdays, anniversaries, special dates, people and events, and how her sharp skills of observation along with her generous spirit combined to know exactly how to make you feel treasured.
Prior to Johann’s retirement in the 1990s, Pauline was actively involved with various volunteer organizations such as the American Red Cross and local elementary schools. In her later years she and Johann enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and traveling with their friends from their Bethel High School and Chung Chi College days, often going on cruises and road trips together.
In the mid-2000s, Pauline was faced with a potentially life-threatening illness with a diagnosis of breast cancer. By the grace of God, it was discovered early on and she endured the following months of surgeries and treatments to make a full recovery.
Per Pauline’s wishes, a private visitation for immediate family was held on Saturday, March 7th, 2020 at the Greer Family Mortuary in Alameda, CA. Pauline shared the same love of the ocean as Johann and together they had decided that when the time came they would both have their ashes return to the Golden Gate where they had both entered the United States on separate occasions but together would be reunited at sea and are now at the throne of Jesus.
Donations and memorial contributions in Pauline’s memory can be made to the Chinese Independent Baptist Church (Short Term Missions Fund) located at 280 8th Street, Oakland, CA 94607.
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