Ki Fai Chan
- April 26, 1915 - February 20, 2013
- San Mateo, California
of Ki Fai's Passing
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Born April 26, 1915 the youngest of 5 children in China. Though we do not know much about the early part of his life, we know he worked on a ship for a large part of his life before meeting our mom. One of the places his work on the ship took him to was Russia in the early 60's. In 1969, our dad immigrated to the United States to give his family a better opportunity and for this reason our dad worked tirelessly. When we were very young, dad would be working two or three jobs at the same time no matter how menial they were. Just getting to these jobs was a challenge in the beginning as he initially did not drive and these jobs were not always close by. In order to get to work he would either walk or ride a bike over a number of miles to get to work rain or shine. Even well past the time when he should have retired, he continued to work various jobs to make our lives easier. Our father was a very simple man and while he was very frugal with himself, he did this so we could have everything we needed. In addition to our family, he also cared very deeply for his two older sisters.
Our father was also a very creative individual. Whenever he saw a need for something whether it was a shoe rack, a little chair or a shade for a window he would go about building it himself. No matter how unusual some of his creations may have seemed, they always served a purpose and worked.
The one passion he had in life was cooking. He would spend countless hours planning and cooking the family dinner and Sunday lunch or just trying to perfect a recipe for a cake or some other item. He usually thought he could make something as good if not better than what you would order in a restaurant, and in most cases he was right.
A favorite cake that dad made from scratch, just by observing someone how it was made. So how did the cake come out? Perfect – he would make it when company comes over or make it to give when are visiting someone. He made great dim sum dishes to the point of why do we need to go to a restaurant for dim sum? To this day, I have not found a place that sells bbq spareribs like our dad. For those who have been fortunate to have had his bbq spareribs know what we mean.
Even though cooking was his passion, the most fulfilling moment for him was not actually getting the recipe right but the happiness he would see when you enjoyed the food. You would rarely see a wide smile from him but you could catch that glimmer of shine in his eyes when he knew you were happy.
In addition to cooking, our father enjoyed watching animal shows. Whenever a nature television show would be on, he would pause while initially walking by the television, sit down and be glued to the television set until it was over. While the show was going on, you could always look over and see the interest and joy he had in watching the show. Our dad enjoyed live animals as well. One place we lived at, the landlady had a turtle. Dad went to buy a mate for it well they hit it off so well that they ran off on us. This enjoyment with animals also carried over to dogs. Our first pet (Lucky) was a stray dog that he lured it home somehow on his way home from work.
The latest dog who stole dad's heart is a little Yorkie named Persimmon belonging to my husband Ray & I. Dad spoiled her like another child. Past dogs we had were always outside dogs, but not Persimmon. She had dad wrapped around her paw, she was allowed to jump & sleep on the furniture. Every time my husband Ray & I visit our parents, we would bring Persimmon with us. Dad would have a dish of food for her and if it wasn't there, she would be pawing at his legs. Persimmon knew who to get the table scraps from during dinner. If Persimmon didn't come over, Dad would send a doggy bag for her.
Without realizing it at the time, our father set the perfect example of who we strive to be today; treat everyone honestly, maintain and support those relationships that are true and close to you and to work hard and always give your best in whatever work you do. My father was a wonderful man. He was a caring husband, father, brother and friend to those who knew him closely.
Our family misses our father but we are forever grateful for all his sacrifices and the opportunity he provided for us and we will never forget him.