Tek Hong Wong, a quiet pioneer in the local Asian Community, passed away on Feb. 5. A dedicated family man, decorated World War II veteran, and Seattle businessman, his legacy is evident in our community and through the many different people’s lives he touched.
He is survived by his children Rick Wong Andy Wong, Phillip Wong, Julie Wong Yuen, and Linda Wong Abe; seven grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. He is predeceased by his wife Lily Lee Wong and his daughter Barbara Wong.
Born in China in 1921, Tek Wong emigrated to Seattle at the age of 17, where he worked with his father at a laundry business and later a neighborhood corner market purchased from Japanese Americans that were interned because of the war. He attended Broadway High School and graduated in 1943.
In 1944, he was called to serve in the U.S. Army and, at boot camp, he met fellow soldier Wing Luke, who became a lifelong friend. Wong served in a heavy weapons regiment and earned a Purple Heart for a gunshot received in the effort to recapture the Philippines. He completed his service in Korea until the end of the war in 1945. Upon leaving the army, both Wong and Luke attended the University of Washington under the GI Bill.
After college graduation in 1949, Wong became partners in a small grocery store in Queen Anne and later married in 1951. His care for the Chinatown community was evident in his ensuing business ventures, which included the Gim Ling Restaurant, the co-founding of the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, and his assistance to Chinese Family Associations. He had other real estate and business ventures in Renton, as well as volunteered at the Renton Senior Activity Center. He considered his greatest attachment the Chinatown community.
Wong attended Kent Chinese Alliance regularly and was baptized at the age of 86. After moving to Merrill Gardens Retirement Community on Mercer Island, he became a member at Marketplace Church in Bellevue. Over the last two years, Wong had multiple health challenges, but consistent with every chapter of his life, Wong was a real fighter. He maintained a smile that spoke to his optimism, his love for his family, and a care for the community around him.
A private memorial service will be held March 19 at Faith Bible Church. (end)
In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Tek may be given to the Marketplace Church in Bellevue. (marketplacechurch.onthecity.org/give)