We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Greer® Family Mortuary & Cremation Services
Po Jen Chang (张安宝珍), 90, passed away at her home in Alameda on May 21, 2022. She was born on September 6, 1931, in Rizhao, Shandong Province, China, to the large An (安) clan. Po Jen showed incredible courage through a life that was buffeted by war and death, and lived as a gentle and gracious lady, beloved by family and cherished by friends.
Po Jen was the youngest of four siblings. Ever curious, she enjoyed school and country life, but these childhood wonders were cut short with the start of the second Sino-Japanese war in 1937. Po Jen, as a young child, witnessed the seizure of the ancestral Anjia Village and deaths of relatives. After WWII, Po Jen and other family survivors relocated to Qingdao where she met her future husband Chang Kai-Tai (Joseph). Joseph’s family was from Nanjing and for generations they have produced the exquisite Yunjin (cloud brocade), a woven art form recognized as an intangible heritage of humanity at UNESCO. Joseph charmed Po Jen with his innate musical talents and outgoing personality. He was multilingual and scholarly in traditional Chinese literature and Buddhist teachings.
When the Communists took over China in 1949, Po Jen and Joseph fled south after getting married; they stayed in Nanjing for a few months and then joined the large waves of war refugees pouring into the safe haven that was Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, Po Jen raised 4 children, Robert, Mark, Diana and Rebecca. It was in Hong Kong that Po Jen took university classes and developed her skill as a calligrapher and an artist. She also became an outstanding cook as her special way to show love for her family.
When China’s Cultural Revolution spilled over to Hong Kong, Joseph and Po Jen decided it was best for the family to immigrate to the US. Sadly their eldest son Robert died of meningitis at 17, a few months before the family moved to Guam in 1969. Po Jen worked hard with her husband in the successful family jewelry shop in Guam. Tragedy struck again 5 years later when Joseph died of cancer at 47. Po Jen uprooted herself for a final time in 1976 when she followed her remaining son and two daughters to California. She lived in several different cities in the San Francisco Bay Area, and settled in Alameda in 1981. She broke through language barriers and met new friends in the Community of Harbor Bay Isle and then in the retirement community of Cardinal Point in her final 9 years.
Po Jen lived 47 years in America as a widow, far from other relatives in China. She was a dedicated mother and grandmother. She is survived by her son Mark and his wife Pam, daughters Diana and Rebecca, and grandsons Robert (named for his uncle) and William.
Friends are invited to funeral services on Monday, June 20th. The Funeral Service will take place at 10:00 a.m. at Greer Family Mortuary and Cremation Services, 2694 Blanding Ave., Alameda; immediately following the service, burial will take place at Mountain View Cemetery, 5000 Piedmont Ave., Oakland; and a Celebration of Life will take place in the afternoon at Cardinal Point, 2431 Mariner Square Dr., Alameda. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Alameda Education Foundation or the Alameda Food Bank.
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