Our loving husband, father and grandfather Lai Foo “John” Wang was peacefully taken home to heaven November 13, 2020.
Dad was born in the Northern Chinese province of Shandong on November 11, 1930 to Shu Yuen Wang and Yeuk Ngor Chan. Although deeply rooted in Shangdong, the family patriarch had been appointed to this region by the Ming Emperor 600 years ago and was originally from Yunnan province 2000 miles away. At a young age Dad was homeschooled by his grandfather and aspired to be a school teacher. As home to Confucius, scholars and educators are the most respected profession in this part of the country. Dad took great interest in Chinese Literature and excelled as a student. With a peaceful and quiet demeanor, he was destined to be a great mentor and professor as many of his ancestors
After an unexpected turn of events, at the age of 17, he was forced to flee his hometown under very turbulent times in China. He spent two years in Qingdao while working in a local newspaper print shop making three dollars a month. Although he longed to see his parents, dad could not afford to pay for the train ride home. While away from home, he ran into his lost cousin on his way to work one day and under his encouragement moved 300 miles further to the city of Tianjin to work for his uncle. Dad later moved to Hong Kong at age 19 in hope of a better life with only the clothes he had on him. Dad met mom under the most unusual circumstances at a blind date. They fell in love and got married a year later.
Dad was a caring man of the highest integrity and took great pride in every job he worked on. While in Hong Kong, he self-studied English and the trade of being a tailor. He started his own business with mom and often engaged family members in his work. The kids would record measurements at customer’s homes and mom would make many of the dresses and accompanied him in delivery. His customer base was mostly British military personnel stationed in Hong Kong. Despite working in a highly competitive and demanding profession, dad seldom missed his delivery schedule while providing the highest quality of service possible. He would meticulously iron each piece of clothing before delivery. During his career, he not only filled custom clothing, suits, wedding dresses, hats but even kilts. He could also measure your feet and found a cobbler to fill shoe orders. His honesty and attention to detail had earned him many return customers and even lifelong friends from all over the world.
Above all, Dad was truly a family man. He loved his family dearly and worked very hard to give his children the opportunities he never received. He and mom were inseparable since marriage. He would always take children to the playground or the botanical garden every day before school. The holidays were always spent at home with family.
Dad was baptized in 1997 and immigrated to the United States in 2004 to be close with family. He enjoyed mass services at the Cathedral of the Madeleine and always looked forward to sharing coffee hours with family and friends.
Soon after moving to Salt Lake City, Dad embarked on his citizenship journey. He and mom would ride the bus every day for seven years to refresh and strengthen his English skills at Mt Olympus Senior Center. While making many new friends at the senior center they also earned the best school attendance record during this time. We would like to send our special appreciation to their English teachers for their friendship and dedication. At the naturalization ceremony, dad was recognized by the judge as the oldest ‘new’ citizen to the country at 80 years old.
Dad loved the outdoors and the family dogs, Holly the blue heeler and Nickoli the border collie. After retirement, Dad enjoyed gardening and doing handy work around the house. He always looked forward to visiting Yellowstone with family every summer and travelling to southern Utah. He also enjoyed watching western TV series and having a beer. Bonanza was his favorite.
Dad will finally reunite with his dear son Shin Cheng “David” and grandma and grandpa whom he missed so much.
Until we hug again, rest easy and never forget we love you forever Dad.
He is survived by his better half and wife of 62 years, Shu Chin, his children, Shin Ho Wang, Wen Hsien “Helen” (Ken) Lau. His grandchildren, Felix (Madeleine) and Winifred. Daughter-in-law Julia (Kwok) Wang.
He is preceded in death by his parents and son David Wang.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in memory of Lai Foo Wang to the Cathedral of the Madeline, Salt Lake City or The National Park Foundation.
A private Funeral Mass will be celebrated Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 12:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Madeline, 331 East South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah. Committal, Mt. Olivet Cemetery, 1342 East 500 South, Salt Lake City.