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Josephine Ya-Cheun Han

October 1, 1934 - July 28, 2022
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Sunset View Mortuary
Eddie Han Light a candle

Obituary

On Thursday July 28, 2022, Josephine Ya-Cheun Han, loving wife and mother, passed away at the age of 88.

Josephine was born on October 1, 1934 in Shanghai China, to Hing Chu and Sing Chu Xing. She went to school in Shanghai and moved to Taipei during her early 20’s to help her father’s business. On May 15, 1959, she married Chung Foo Han in Taiwan; and shortly thereafter moved to Berkeley, California. She has one son Edward (Eddie), and shortly after his birth, she thought about how to make a living and where to work.

She got her very first job at Lucky Florist in Oakland in the early 60’s, but after only 1 day, she quickly realized she hated the job and was better off if she worked on her own. With the help of her father, she started selling small Chinese dolls in San Francisco Chinatown, going to door to door. Every day of the week she would try to get orders from the gift shops that lined Grant Avenue, from the Chinatown Gate to Broadway. Often 7 days of week; she would collect orders on one day and then deliver dolls from the trunk of her car the next. In the beginning, some stores ordered very little, sometimes only a $6.00 order, but she accepted the order happily and delivered the next day, and then asked if they needed more the following week.

As her wholesale business grew; Mei Wah Company became established. Products now included dolls, shell & ivory jewelry, and fashion accessories. She started taking short trips to Monterey and Los Angeles Chinatown to try get more customers, and her husband started helping the business every evening after finishing his full time day job working for the US Government. Many evenings after dinner they would sit at the dining room table to assemble shell jewelry into earrings and necklaces, and prepping them for delivery. Later she travelled by herself to try to sell to other states, although her English was not totally fluent. During the 1960’s and 1970’s it was not common for a single woman to travel on her own, much less being Chinese and speaking English with a heavy accent. With no access to a car, she often took Buses and Taxis by herself to get to her sales appointments, carrying jewelry sample cases in tow.

Her persistence and many years of daily hard work led to opportunities with larger customers such as theme parks and major destination hotels. Mei Wah Company, based in San Francisco, now offers custom designed jewelry products to tourist destinations throughout the United States.

Josephine was preceded in death by her father and mother, her sister and 2 brothers. She is survived by husband Chung, son Eddie, granddaughter Nikki, and her younger sisters Margaret, Vivian, Sandy, and Lily, along with several nieces and nephews.

A funeral service will be held Tuesday, August 9, 2022, at Sunset View Cemetery at 101 Colusa Avenue, El Cerrito at 11:00am.

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In Lieu of Flowers, a donation can be made to Alzheimers Association: www.alz.org

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Timeline for Josephine Ya-Cheun Han

Born: October 1, 1934
Died: July 28, 2022

Condolences for Josephine Ya-Cheun Han

Sunset View Mortuary

Our sincere condolences.

The staff of Sunset View Mortuary.

 

Anna Lue posted on 8/10/22

表姊 (excuse me to using Chinese) The world has lost an incredible life. You have my sincere condolences, my deepest sympathies and my unending love . Believe one day we will meet again. You will be missed. With love,

 

Anna Lue posted on 8/10/22

表姊 (excuse me to using Chinese) The world has lost an incredible life. You have my sincere condolences, my deepest sympathies and my unending love. You will be missed. With love,

 

Nancy Yip posted on 8/8/22

What a beautiful life she lived. I’m so very sorry for your loss.

 

Lily Lou posted on 8/7/22

Sincere condolences. I wish you solace in the gathering of friends and family to remember her together—wish we could all be there. Your mother, and your whole family, have been so very important to us from our earliest days.

 

Nora Medina posted on 8/7/22

RIP Mrs Han. May her memory be a blessing and of comfort in this difficult time.

 

Jim & Carolyn Wyzard posted on 8/6/22

We are so sorry for your loss. I use to talk to her all the time when I called the office - she never missed a call! Our condolences to the family.

 

Eddie Han posted on 8/4/22

Miss you Mom, forever. You did a great job being a wife, mother, grandmother and Eldest sister. Please have comfort knowing we will all do well in your absence.

 

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