Matt fong remembered at memorial service in whittier
Matt Fong remembered at memorial service in WhittierBy Brian Day, Staff WriterPosted: 06/18/2011 07:56:10 PM PDTWith her children Jade and Matthew by her side, Paula Fong talks about her husbandMatt Fong, former state treasurer who died June 1 at the age of 57, during his memorialservice at Whittier Area Community Church Saturday, June 18, 2011. (SGVN/Photo bySarah Reingewirtz)
Matt Fong memorial in Whittier WHITTIER - Family members, friends and colleagues of Matt Fong remembered theformer state treasurer Saturday for his accomplishments in the political arena as well ashis tenacious and generous character.Fong died June 1 at age 57 at his Pasadena home after a three-year battle with skincancer.A lawyer and former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force, he was buried June 9 at aceremony at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. On Saturday, hundredsgathered at Whittier Area Community Church to share memories of Fong."I will forever cherish those moments I had with him, and I will be guided by thosemoments," said Fongs son, Matthew Fong Jr. "I will forever love my dad and forever misshim."A host of friends and high-profile officials, including former Gov. Pete Wilson, former U.S.Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, Pepperdine University President Andrew Benton and stateController John Chiang, took turns honoring their former colleague."In his 57 1/2 years, he crowded in an amazing amount of accomplishments," Wilsonsaid."This man was driven by that passion to make a good and enduring change," headded. "He leaves behind a number of people who learned from him."Although Fong was younger than Wilson, the former governor said, "You can be amentor to people of all ages. Im here to prove it."
Chiang said Fong worked tirelessly to improve the lives of people in the state."Matt has added to the benefits and hopes and aspirations of countless Californiansbecause of his conviction that California could be a stronger state," he said."He also brought a certain integrity I think is much needed in todays American politicalsystem."More than a dozen friends of Fong, from politicians to his golf buddies, shared stories oftime spent with Fong and remarked on the bond he had with his family.Fong, a Republican, entered politics when Wilson appointed him to the state Board ofEqualization in 1991. He was elected treasurer in 1994 and in 1998 unsuccessfullychallenged Barbara Boxer for her U.S. Senate seat.Fong is survived by his wife, Paula; a daughter, Jade; and a son, Matthew Jr.