Maria Lan Fong Chau
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Maria Lan Fong Chau
  • July 2, 1918 - December 9, 2014
  • Arlington, Virginia

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Maria Lan-Fong Hung Chau
(July 2, 1918 - December 9, 2014)

Maria Lan-Fong Hung Chau (age 96) of Arlington, Virginia, passed away on December 9, 2014, after spending a wonderful weekend with family and friends. She was preceded in death in 1992, by her loving husband of 40 years, John Tin-Wing Chau.

She is survived by her children, Filomena (James Bachmaier), Henry, and Maurice (Kathleen Dobrzelewski) and he grandchildren: Jacob (Maria Rubinacci) and Diana Bachmaier and Mary, Kathryn, Peter and Annamarie Chau. She is also survived by numerous relatives throughout the world.

Mrs. Chau was born on July 2, 1918, in Banda Atjeh (today Banda Aceh), Sumatra, Indonesia. Her parents were Mr. Pao Kiay Joeng and Mrs. Yuen Kiauw Woen Joeng. She attended high school in China and graduated from Lingnan University in 1944 with a bachelor's degree in economics. She worked for the United Nations' Refugee Relief Administration (UNRRA) in China during the mid 1940's. Mrs. Chau taught school in Guang Dong, China and later in Hong Kong.

She married Mr. Chau in Hong Kong on August 4, 1951. Mr. and Mrs. Chau and Filomena and Henry immigrated to the United States in 1956. Henry was 7 days old at the start of their journey! Mrs. Chau really wanted to come to America. After residing for 8 months in Chicago, Illinois, they moved to Washington, D.C. in 1957. Here, Mr. Chau worked for the U. S. government and they raised their children. They became U. S. citizens in 1962. Mr. Chau retired in 1988, after 36 years of government service. After Mr. and Mrs. Chau's grandson, Jacob, was born in 1984, Mrs. Chau cared for him for 2 1/2 years, so Filomena could return to work part time. Mr. and Mrs. Chau took Jacob for many walks and other activities. Mr. Chau passed away on March 21, 1992. Since 1984, Mrs. Chau has maintained a very close bond with Jacob. Mrs. Chau has also maintained a keen interest in her other grandchildren, listening and talking to them, teaching them to knit and crochet, and enjoying being with them.

For 26 growing seasons (1982 - 2007), Mrs. Chau worked in a community garden plot in Arlington, Virginia. She helped other gardeners, donated flowers to St. Charles Borromeo Church for many years, and made friends with fellow gardeners. She also continued her hobbies of reading, sewing, knitting, crocheting, and embroidery. In 2006, Mrs. Chau moved to the Culpepper Garden Retirement Community in Arlington, living first in the independent living wing and later on in the assisted living wing. Mrs. Chau continued her gardening at Culpepper, in a raised garden bed (2008 - 2014). Mrs. Chau joined Culpepper's Knitting Circle, donating many craft items to St. Charles Church for their Oktoberfest to raise funds for St. Charles School, and made many friends. From 1980 to 2014, Mrs. Chau also welcomed her large extended family from many areas of the world.

In honor of Mrs. Chau, the family will hold several events on Saturday, December 13, 2014:

-9 - 11 a.m. - Visitation - Murphy Funeral Home, 4510 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22203 (703-522-1441).
-12 noon-1 p.m. - Funeral Mass - St. Charles Borromeo Church, 3304 N. Washington Blvd., Arlington, VA 22201 (703-527-5500).
-1:30/1:45 - 2:00 p.m.- Graveside Service, - Columbia Gardens Cemetery, 3411 Arlington Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201 (703-527-7774)
Mrs. Chau's family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Mrs. Chau's name to a charity of your choice.