Mary was born and raised in San Francisco, the youngest of eight children. She is reunited with her parents, seven siblings, loving husband Henry, cherished son Gerald and many other family members and friends. She leaves behind daughters Linda and Lavinda, granddaughter Tiffanie; stepson Chao Tsun (Swee Ang), grandson Derek (Charmaine), great-grandchildren Troy and Tania, granddaughter Maye, great-grandson Charles; stepdaughther May Yin, granddaughter Li Zhen, grandson Zhi Wei and many nieces, nephews and friends.
Mom was a graduate of St. Mary’s Chinese Day School and All Girl’s High and often reminisced about her basketball days. Being the baby of her family she was spoiled by her mom and siblings. During air raids, her mom would hold onto a flashlight so that she could still read her comic books in the dark. Mom was incorrigible, feisty, quite stubborn and set in her ways, so much so, that our dad and her siblings often let her have her way, especially our dad! In her heydays, Mom painted the town red with the love of her life while socializing with their drinking buddies. She would make smoked fish, five spice beef shank and dried bean curd for everyone to enjoy at the bars. Mom also made her own preserved vegetable, jelly fish and salted eggs and was quite a baker. Many of us still remember the Christmas wreaths oozing with icing and her very rich butter pecan cookies!
Mom engaged in several professions, a Jill-of-all-trades. She was a waitress (Shanghai Low), garment factory worker, Flower Mart salesperson and restaurant owner (Papa Luigi’s). She enjoyed vacations with her family and friends, Cantonese operas and especially mah jong. Mom always said that “mah jong can heal hundreds of illnesses”. Her mah jong friends at Tung Hwa Association even gave her a nickname, “Submarine” meaning when she would sink very deep (lose a lot) she would always float back to the surface (comes out a winner)!!
Mom mellowed with age, especially after the birth of her granddaughter, Tiffanie. She even gave up her forty plus years of smoking, “cold turkey”, when asked if she wanted to live to see Tiff grow up. She was a very resilient woman who rolled with the punches and embraced changes that she felt were worthwhile and/or worked for her. She was sharp as a tack, remembering important dates such as our birthdays, reminding Lavinda of things she needed to do and always setting aside red envelopes in December for Christmas and our birthdays in the new year. Even during her stay at Generations Healthcare, Mom would comment on the service she was getting, comparing the quality and skills of the various nurses or nursing assistants. In the past, whenever we asked if there was anything she wanted to do or anywhere she wanted to go, Mom would always say she didn’t want to do anything else or go anywhere since she had already enjoyed a rich and fun-filled life.