The PSF got its start in 1983 with a no-strings-attached donation of $2000 from Mr. MG Tshi of Hong Kong. This generous gift prompted some forward-thinking Wa Sung members to establish the PSF to provide a steady funding source for our Merit Scholarships, special projects, and educational grants. At the same time, it provides a vehicle for donors to endow trust funds, whether in recognition of living individuals or in memory of their departed loved ones. A minimum contribution of $10,000 is required to set up a trust fund. The By-laws require that all contributions be retained in perpetuity as principal, with only earnings from interest, dividends or capital gains to be disbursed for the designated programs.
In 1931, during the Depression, Richard Lee arrived in the United States of America. After working a series of part time jobs, Richard took a bus with 40 other men, standing all the way, from San Francisco to King City, to work the farmlands of Watsonville. After the harvest season, and unable to find work, Richard went to school for 1 years. One of Richardss proudest accomplishments was when he joined the Army and graduated from the United States Army School of Finance without a college education. At that time, it was mandatory to have a minimum of a two-year college education before being accepted in the program.
At twenty, Richard left the farming towns and worked at the Cypress point Club, an exclusive and exciting place to work wages were $2.00 per day plus tips
In 1939, Richard moved to Oakland, and was one of seven waiters at the Good Earth Caf where he learned to speak English and business management. In 1957, a lucky $10 Keno ticket form Harrahs paid $25,000 - Richard parlayed it to $225,000, and established the House of Lee on Fruitvale near Foothill Boulevard one of the first elegant/fancy Chinese restaurants in Oakland. From there, his legacy included King Richards Night Club on Broadway near Jack London Square, and a 27 year contract with first Harolds Club, and then Harrahs, which made Lee Tours a household name in Oakland.
Richards generosity extended beyond local community groups. In memory of his mother and first wife and Sun Cheun, Toi San, his birthplace, Richard Financed the construction of an elementary school, a junior high school and community library.
Richards ever present compassion led to his directing his finances to assist others so they could gain an education and be given a opportunity that was not available to him when he came to the United States. Richard was proud of his family and their accomplishments and his philosophy was be honest, be friendly and work hard when there is an opportunity.
As a teenager, Joe played third base on the Wa Sung Athletic Club Baseball team. With the advent of the World War II, the club became inactive. After the war, a group of former members approached Joe, the Principal of Lincoln Elementary School, to consider reactivating the Wa Sung Club. From those conversions, the Wa Sung Service Club was formed in 1953, with Joe elected as the first President.
A few years later, in 1957, the Easter Pancake Breakfast was initiated as a fundraiser borrowing stoves from the Central Oakland Kiwanis Club which were later given to Wa Sung when the Kiwanis Club disbanded and are still being used today! Joseph S. Lee worked with the Oakland Public Schools for 43 years his first 10 years, he was a classroom teacher and then for the next 33 years, he served as principal at seven Oakland Public Schools McFeeley and Willow Manor Elementary School, Lincoln School, Golden Gate Elementary and Junior High School, Westlake and, Elmhurst Junior High School and Far West High School and became the 1st Asian Administrator in the Oakland Public School District.
Joe also served on the boards of Providence Hospital Foundation and Easter Seals where his talents, knowledge and familiarity with local community leaders were in high demand. Joe was also active in Kiwanis, Acacia Clubs of the Masonic Order, the Red Cross, and served as a Commissioner on the Oakland Parks and Recreation Commission. This scholarship was established in his memory in 1990.
Dedicated by Dr. Evelyn Li, for her late husband. Dr. Li is a cardiologist practicing in Fremont.
Young and full of life and vigor, Susie died of a brain tumor at the young age of 33. Coming to Oakland from New York, Susie joined Wa Sung Service Club and found a place where she made new friends, share her vibrancy and energy, and never found a challenge that she could not meet. Susie served on the Wa Sung Board of Directors and chaired many Wa Sung events. Susie was known for her Red Bean Drink event.
1993, Susie returned to her family in New York after she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Before she left, she told Wa Sung members dont be sad. Im going to beat this and then Ill be back. Susie fought for 2 years after the doctors told her she only had one year to live.
The Walter Y. & Mildred L. Chinn Fund was initially established in 1993 to fund special community projects. For over 20 years, it funded the annual Mildred L. Chinn Memorial Picnic via the nationally renowned Asian Youth Services Committee (AYSC), an organization co-founded by Walter to address the needs of Asian youths. Starting in 2015, it will fund scholarships.
Walter, a native Oaklander, joined the Wa Sung Community Service Club in 1983 and was a board member from 1984 to 1995. He became President in 1988, Member of the Year in 1989 and then a Life Member. He participated in every Wa Sung event until 1995.
Mildred was born in Kentucky, the only daughter of a railroad train engineer. She participated in most of the Wa Sung events and had worked at the California State Compensation Board. She was widely known for her warmth and genuine interest when representing the City of Oakland at many high-profile civic functions.
Walter had a successful career with PayLess Drug Stores that spanned more than 30 years. Started out as a stock clerk in 1952, he quickly rose through the ranks and in 1963, became the first non-Caucasian store manager of a national Caucasian-owned chain in the country. His abilities were further recognized five years later when he was promoted to district manager with twelve stores under his supervision.
Since his retirement from PayLess in 1982, Walter has devoted his time to community services. He co-founded the Asian Advisory Committee on Crime (AACC) in 1986, and AYSC in 1990. His extensive community service includes serving on the board of 15 organizations and as Oakland City Commissioner. His leadership and services in the community have earned him numerous honors and Resolutions, such as from the U.S. Congress, California State Assembly, Alameda County Board of Supervisors, City of Oakland, Merritt Hospital, and Summit Hospital. He was the proud recipient of the Alameda County Bar Association Liberty Bell Award in 1995.
Since co-founding AYSC in 1990, Walter remained active with the youths until his retirement in 2013. Mildred was always there with Walter to guide the youths. AYSC so loved Mildred that when she passed away in 1992 they named their annual picnic “The Mildred L. Chinn Annual Picnic.” The Oakland City Council officially proclaimed June 18 as the “Mildred L. Chinn Memorial Picnic Day.“
Walter and Mildred are honored to participate in the Wa Sung Merit Scholarship program.
Josh, the original farm boy from Fremont, California, was one of eight children raised on a Niles farm by a father who was a lay preacher at the old Cumberland Church in Oakland. One of Joshs earliest memories was reading about the Wa Sung Baseball Team- Allie Wong, Henry Bowen, Ed Yee
After the Navy, Josh attended USC Optometry School and opened his practice in 1953, in the Elmhurst district of Oakland. In the same year, Josh was thrilled to be the second non-baseball team member accepted in the newly formed Wa Sung Service Club. Josh is one of the co-founders of the annual Easter Breakfast at Oakland Lincoln Square Playground and was the famous stove man, flipping pancakes for many years. In 1957, Josh served as the President of Wa Sung Service Club, and in 1961, he was nominated Member of the Year.
Active in many Oakland community programs, Josh was especially proud to the project chairman for the building of the Chinese Junkboat 1961, located at Oakland Lincoln Square Playground. Josh was a volunteer and donor in may organizations for San Leandro to San Ramon.
During his optometry practice, Josh joined a group of East Bay business leaders as a founder of the Bay Bank of Commerce in Oakland Chinatown, and now has a branch in San Leandro, Hayward and San Ramon. Josh served as Chairman of the board of Bay Bank for 19 years.
Nancy Jo Lee was the daughter of her loving parents, Dr. Theodore and Laura Joe Lee. As a child, Nancy was shy, precocious, and adorable. During her school years, she excelled in swimming, singing, and dancing.
As an adult, Nancy valued ongoing education, loved to see and hear all types of entertainment such as movies, singers, or club acts as well as the performing arts at theatres showcasing musical plays, symphonies, and ballets. She also immersed herself in different cultures but, above all, continued to learn about her Chinese heritage and its importance. She lived the cosmopolitan lifestyle, enjoyed eating varieties of foods and was always happy to be traveling around the world. Nancy had a big heart and liked to share any wisdom she gained through her experiences.
Nancy left her mark as a person dedicated to Wa Sungs activities and, alongside with others, donated to their annual Scholarship Award program. Nancy loved children and encouraged Oakland Lincoln Schools 5th grade class development by supporting their education through exposure to science and the performing arts. Additionally, God was first in Nancys heart, and the Oakland Chinese Presbyterian Church remained a force in her life.
Freeman was born in San Francisco. He was eldest son of Rev. and Mrs. Lok Shang Chan. He met his true love, Mary, in New York and they moved to Oakland and were married for 64 years.
Freeman became a member of the Wa Sung Club in 1963. He grew up in Oakland Chinatown and already knew the Wa Sung members years before he joined. He waited until he could devote full time to community service. He was also a member of the Chinese American Citizen Alliance and the Oakland Chinese Community United Methodist Church. He served on the Senior Nutrition Program Committee for Family Bridges and was also on the Asian Advisory Board for Albert Brown Co.
Freeman held the following Wa Sung positions: Treasurer in 1964, Recording Secretary in 1965 and 1969, and Board of Director in 1974 and 1981. In 1981, Freeman received the top honor of Member of the Year. In 1976 he was honored with Wa Sung Life Membership. For 44 years, Freeman attended the General Meetings, the picnics, Casino night, As baseball games, Christmas parties, and never missed the annual Wa Sung Easter Pancake Breakfast.
Mary was originally from Queens, New York. She was the eldest daughter of 10 children. She married and moved to Oakland in 1943.
Mary was reunited in heaven with her loving husband of 64 years, Freeman, on September 25, 2007.
She was always at Wa Sung events with her husband Freeman and felt she had been part of the Wa Sung Club even before she became a member in 1993. Mary was on the Wa Sung Board of Directors from 2002-2005 and in 2005 was honored with Life Membership. She also was a member of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance and the Oakland Chinese Community United Methodist Church. She was on the Asian Advisory Board for Albert Brown. After retirement, she volunteered many hours for Family Bridges.
Loving service was her way of life. Her unselfish and pleasing spirit will bind together the large circle of her family and friends for many generations to come.
Becky grew up in Oakland, going through the public school system, and was honored to receive a Wa Sung Scholarship during her senior year at Oakland High in 1964. The award helped her attend U.C. Berkeley, where she earned a teaching credential. She went on to become a teacher with the Oakland Unified School District for over 30 years.
Her husband Al attended Tech High in Oakland, S.F. State, and Idaho State University. He worked as a pharmacist for Kaiser Hospital in Walnut Creek for 40 years. They have three children, and are both active at the Chinese Community United Methodist Church in Oakland. They are delighted to give back to their community through the Wa Sung Perpetual Scholarship Program, and particularly wish to assist students with a desire to serve others
Bessie joined Wa Sung in 1985. For the next ten years she attended all the meetings and was active in many events. In the 80s Bill Jan, Walter Chinn, Victor Mar, and Doug Wong prepared the Wa Sung monthly meeting dinners at the CACA. They called themselves the Four Musketeers. Assisting them were the Four Mouseketeers: Alice Jan, Mildred Chinn, Bessie Mar, and Betty Young. At Easter Pancake Breakfasts Bessie would be in the office helping with the tickets. Among other activities such as the Wa Sung/CACA Dinner Dances she would be at the reception desk checking in the revelers. In 1986 Bessie became one of the first woman Wa Sung life members, In addition to Wa Sung, Bessie assisted Victor in many of his community activities. In her quiet way, she embodied Wa Sungs ideals.
Ann was born in Yakima, WA., the youngest of six siblings. After graduating with a degree in Physical Education from Washington State University, she moved to Livermore and began her career as a PE teacher at Junction Avenue Middle school, where her career spanned two generations of young women. Her teaching philosophy was to emphasize fun of participation and sportsmanship to make physical activity a lifelong goal. In 1990, Ann received a kidney transplant, a year after suffering from kidney failure. But true to her own teachings, she continued to participate in sports by competing in the transplant games. She entered competitions in badminton, table tennis, cycling, broad jump, shot-put, basketball , and volleyball; and won six medals. She was most proud of her Northern CA team who won the most medals as well as good sportsmanship award. Ann deeply appreciated the "gift of life" from a family who agreed to organ donation. Ann retired from teaching in 1999, and indulged and in her favorite hobby of gourmet cooking, attending cooking school and preparing meals for her husband Stanley and friends. Ann's zest for life will be remembered by all whose lives she touched.
Francis "Frank" and Eugenie "Genie" Young both joined Wa Sung in 2007. Frank was born in Oakland, CA, on September 18, 1941. He spent his childhood in Rodeo, CA, helping his parents Dock and Ahlon Young in their family business, Young's Family Restaurant. After graduating from Berkeley High School and Laney College, Frank joined the U.S. Air Force and served 22 years as an active enlistee and also in the Air National Guard. Frank and Genie were married in 1964.
Frank's passion and calling was serving the community. Frank was a longtime volunteer in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). He served as the Pack master of Cub Scout Pack 14, and Scoutmaster Troop 11. Long after his sons had finished scouting, Frank continued his involvement and earned the "Silver Beaver" award for 40 years of distinguished service to the Alameda Council, BSA. Frank concurrently served at the American Red Cross as a CPR, First Aid, and Wilderness Survival Instructor. After his retirement from BART, Frank continued to serve the community as a Senior Volunteer with the California Highway Patrol and as a member of the Wa Sung until his passing on June 16, 2013.
Genie is currently a Director of the Wa Sung Community Service Club. She hails from San Francisco but has been a resident of Alameda for over 40 years. She served in the Air Force from 1962 to 1965 along with her sister Garrienne, which was unusual for Chinese women of her generation. A "Jane of All Trades", she enjoys a variety of hobbies, including photography, bowling, cruising and fishing (both fresh and salt water), and sports of all kinds. She has a lifelong passion in cooking, particularly home-style Cantonese cooking, something that developed from helping out after work in her father's restaurant in Emeryville. Genie now enjoys her retirement with her family – two sons, a daughter, and four grandchildren. Before retirement she worked as an electroencephalogram (EEG) technician at Eden Hospital in Castro Valley.