Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang: In Loving Memory- Minerva Wong

Minerva Wong 7/16/18-7/12/09 (Photo by Lia Chang)

Minerva Wong 7/16/18-7/12/09 (Photo by Lia Chang)

Four days shy of her 91st birthday, my Grand Auntie Minnie suffered a severe stroke and passed away, with many of her family members in attendance on July 12 in Oakland, CA.

Auntie Minnie (Minerva Lee Wong) was my grandmother’s sister, but she was like another grandmother for me and my sister Tami. Her daughters Darlene and Kathy, and son Clifford (who passed away in 1975) were close in age to us. Tami, Kathy and I attended the same grammar school, and the Wongs and the Changs had a week-long ski vacation right after the new year in Lake Tahoe.

Last February, for the first time in many years, I made it back home to the Bay Area for a Chinese New Year celebration with my family.

Sisters Nancy Chang (my grandmother) and Minerva Wong (Photo by Lia Chang)

Sisters Nancy Chang (my grandmother) and Minerva Wong (Photo by Lia Chang)

Cousins Darlene Lock, Lia Chang, Marissa Chang-Flores, Tami Chang and Kat Ng

Cousins Darlene Lock, Lia Chang, Marissa Chang-Flores, Tami Chang and Kat Ng


Auntie Minnie gave the party in the penthouse of her senior residence in Oakland on a lovely sunny afternoon. As we dug into our favorite Chinese New Year’s dishes from childhood, I caught her up on my life in New York.

I have many fond memories of my Grand Aunt. She was loving, generous, thoughtful and kind. Her beauty, grace and special twinkle lit up a room, and the way she said my name warmed my heart. I can still hear her lilting voice.

Photo by Lia Chang

Photo by Lia Chang


After Auntie Minnie died, her granddaughter Sheri Wong wrote on her Facebook page, “She played Wii Golf on Friday, celebrated her great grandson’s 1st birthday with the family on Saturday, and went to kick it in Heaven on Sunday. My grandma will be missed, but she was loved by all and feisty till the end.”

Her wake will be held on Sunday, July 19, at 5PM and Funeral Services on Monday July 20, at 11AM at HALSTED N. GRAY – CAREW & ENGLISH, 1123 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA.

Family is everything to me and I got to go home a celebrate Chinese New Year with (l-r  front row) my grandmother, my Auntie Joyce, my Grand Auntie Minnie, (l-r back row) my Auntie Pauline, my sisters Tami and Marissa on February 9, 2008 in Oakland, Ca.

Family is everything to me and I got to go home to celebrate Chinese New Year with (l-r front row) my grandmother, my Auntie Joyce, my Grand Auntie Minnie, (l-r back row) my Auntie Pauline, my sisters Tami and Marissa on February 9, 2008 in Oakland, Ca.


She is survived by her sister Nancy Chang; two sons Roland (wife Peggy) and Robert (wife Shirley); three daughters Judy Lew (husband Preston Lew), Darlene Lock (husband Bill Lock) and Kathy Ng (husband Andy Ng); eleven grandchildren-Kevin Wong, Sheri Wong, Peter Ong (wife Lisa), Ryan Ong (wife Lissa), Brian Wong, Keith Wong, Kenneth Lock, Jaclyn Lock, Pamela Lock, Marcus Ng and Matthew Ng; and five great-grandsons-Matthew Ong, Terry Ong, Nathan Ong, Wesley Ong and Riley Ong, in addition to many nieces, nephews, grand nieces and grand nephews. The family has requested donations be made to a local hospice in lieu of flowers. Complimentary Parking (415) 673-3000
A Family Portrait at a Chinese New Year celebration in Oakland, CA on February 9, 2008. (Photo by Lia Chang)

A Family Portrait at a Chinese New Year celebration in Oakland, CA on February 9, 2008. (Photo by Lia Chang)


A sacred lotus for my Auntie Minnie, with much love and affection. (Photo by Lia Chang)

A sacred lotus for my Auntie Minnie, with much love and affection. (Photo by Lia Chang)

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2 comments on “Lia Chang: In Loving Memory- Minerva Wong

  1. Fran Say
    July 17, 2009

    Dear Lia, Kat Ng is one of my oldest and best friends. Thank you for a such touching memoir/bio of Minnie. She was well loved and will be remembered with great fondness.

    Regards,
    Fran Say

  2. Dianne Kirksey
    July 18, 2009

    Dear Lia,

    This is such a loving portrait of your aunt. I feel that I know her through knowing you. Thank you for sharing your aunt with all of us in this special way.

    Your friend,
    Dianne Kirksey

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This entry was posted on July 17, 2009 by in San Francisco and tagged , .
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