JACL Leader Eulogizes Matt Fong

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Matt Fong

SAN FRANCISCO — The Japanese American Citizens League has offered its condolences on the passing of Matt Fong on June 1 at the age of 57 after a long bout with skin cancer.

Matthew Kipling Fong was a former California state treasurer who was elected in 1994, a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, and vice chairman of California’s State Board of Equalization from 1991 to 1994.  He was appointed by President George W. Bush as chairman of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Advisory Board.

Fong attended the U.S. Air Force Academy and served on active duty for five years.  He earned an MBA from Pepperdine University, where he served on the Board of Regents from 1993 until his death. He received a law degree from Southwestern University School of Law, now known as Southwestern Law School.

Floyd Mori, national executive director of JACL and a former California state assemblymember, stated, “It was my privilege to be acquainted with Matt and with his mother, both of whom have done much to further the causes of Asian Americans. We thank them for their service and dedication. Matt Fong’s passing at a young age is a great loss for the community. Our thoughts are with his family.”

The JACL expressed its sympathy to Fong’s wife, Paula, his two children, Matthew and Jade, and his mother, March Fong Eu, former state assemblymember (1967-1974), California secretary of state (1975-1994) and U.S. ambassador to Micronesia (1994-1996). Mori, a former mayor of Pleasanton (Alameda County), was elected to succeed Eu in the Assembly and served three terms until 1980. Eu was the first Asian American woman to be elected to the Legislature and the first woman and first Asian American to be elected to statewide office.

Funeral services will be held Thursday, June 9, at 10 a.m. at the Cadet Chapel of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. Burial will immediately follow at the Air Force Academy Cemetery.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 18, at 10 a.m. at Whittier Area Community Church, 8175 Villaverde Dr. in Whittier.

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