Lun Shew “Ralph” Fong was born on March 4, 1932 at Chinese Hospital in San Francisco. He was the youngest of seven sons of Fong Kay and Gee Shee (Toy Ha). His fondest memories of his youth were his close relationship with his mom, and daily visits to the Chinatown public library. He loved to read books about seafaring, history and geography. He also learned radio technology with the help of his older brother, Nelson. They put together crystal radios and Heath Kit electronic devices in their basement workshop.
After graduating Galileo High School, he took pre-engineering courses at City College of San Francisco. While taking liberal arts electives there, he found to his surprise that the courses he enjoyed more than engineering were philosophy, psychology, geology and biology. That fueled for him a life-long curiosity and love about all categories of human knowledge, especially philosophy.
He enlisted in the US Army in 1954 and served as a Field Radio Repairman for helicopters and light airplanes. After being honorably discharged, he returned to go to college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and San Jose State (where he roomed with his brother, Ernie). During this time the Beat Generation was in full swing, and he enjoyed going with friends to SF North Beach and talking about joining the freedom fighters in India. After college, he worked on and off in contract engineering jobs with Lockheed and Douglas Aircraft, and continued to pursue his interest in philosophy.
Big changes came in 1961 when he got a full-time job with the US Navy at Hunter’s Point Naval Shipyard, and when he met Sloo Jee “Sue” Wong. They married in 1963 and moved to Visitation Valley in San Francisco where their children Karen, Charise and Mark were born.
They also joined Cumberland Presbyterian Chinese Church in Chinatown where they made lifelong friendships with other families, and where Ralph was baptized in 1992.
Ralph considered one of his and Sue’s greatest achievements, after raising their three children, to be designing and building their own house in El Cerrito in the mid-1970s. They both appreciated modern architecture, and were able to design that in to their home in El Cerrito where they lived together for 43 years.
Ralph retired from the US Navy in 1997 and enjoyed his time continuing to pursue his love of learning, traveling abroad with Sue and their family and friends, participating in church programs, playing tennis and bridge, watching Jeopardy, and caring for their grandchildren, Evan, Sydney and Reece.
Ralph lived a long and full life. He went home to be with the Lord on Friday, September 28, 2018 with his family surrounding him. He will be missed by his wife Sue; his children Karen, Charise and Mark; his son-in-law Hanson and daughter-in-law Linda; his grandchildren Evan, Sydney and Reece; his brother James Fong; and his extended family and friends.
Date: Friday, October 12, 2018
Time: 1:00 pm
Sunset View Mortuary
Address:101 Colusa Ave, El Cerrito, CA, 94530