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|Fong Gay Leon Wu|
|Viewing: February 1, 2018 (Thursday) from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. and February 2, 2018 (Friday) from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.|
Service: February 2, 2018 (Friday) at 11:00 a.m.
Location: DeVol Funeral Home, Gaithersburg, MD
Fong Gay Leon Wu passed away peacefully on January 24, 2018 surrounded by her loving family. She was born to a privileged family in a village in Guangdong, China in the early 1920’s. She was the first female in her large extended family to finish her secondary education —this was not a common practice in China in those days, since girls were not generally allowed to go to schools.
Subsequently, she married Yung Chi and settled to care for her new family during very turbulent times in China. She survived the Chinese Civil War and the rise of the Communist Party. In 1949, her new family was facing increasingly belligerent villagers. With the prescience of imminent danger to her family, and with courage, strength, and ingenuity she bundled her infant daughter and her mother in law and escaped from their fratricidal home village in the early days of rabid communism in China, narrowly escaping death.
Fong Gay took her family and fled Guangdong to a safe haven in Hong Kong, protected by family and friends, until she was able to rejoin her husband and start a new life in Santiago de Cuba. In her new home in Cuba, she gave birth to her second daughter. Shortly after the Cuban Revolution succeeded in 1959, she recognized signs of Communism in the early days of Castro’s Cuba, and once again she planned the escape from Communist Cuba, and with her family in tow they came to the United States.
Her indomitable spirit, her strength, and her courage which she has shown throughout her life, helped the family forge a new life here in the United States. Twice in her life she had to start all over again, with little or nothing but the clothes on her back —and though raised as a child of privilege, Fong Gay was not afraid of hard work and challenges. She was dedicated to the ideals of America, and what it meant to be free—since she experienced firsthand what it meant to not have that freedom. In those early days after she arrived with her family in the United States, as a new immigrant—and even though she could not speak English-- she nonetheless helped supplement the family income by helping with a family business startup in Chicago, and later by working in the garment industry in New York City Chinatown, and, after overcoming countless hardships, she still had a huge heart.
Fong Gay showed her love through cooking, protecting her family, and looking out for what was best for everyone. She deeply cared for and loved her daughters and her grand-daughters. She communicated her love and relished every moment she spent with her family. Fong Gay imparted her strong values in her children and grandchildren. Her spirit and warmth will be missed.
Fong Gay is survived by her husband, Yung Chi Wu (retired) of Germantown, Maryland, her two daughters and their families, Belkis Leong-Hong (husband Ken) of Gaithersburg, Maryland and Gloria Wu, MD (husband Paul Wang, MD) of Saratoga, California. She leaves three granddaughters, Catherine and Margaret Wang of California, and Denise Leong Williams (husband Dan) of National Harbor, Maryland.
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