Thank you for writing such a wonderful obituary about Susan Fong who I knew from childhood as Ms. Fong or just Susie. Susie was one of those people that just brought warmth and magic wherever she went and with whomever she interacted. When Chef Shangri-La opened in the 1970s, I seem to remember going there for dinner with my parents so many times. I could not get enough of the restaurant’s incredible sweet and sour chicken. It was incredible. It still is the best!
Your article indicated that Susie was a Democrat. I never knew that from the way she and my late Mother used to interact. I think they were really both independents which would account for their consistent levels of happiness. I never saw two people love each other more, and I saw an incredible relationship that lasted until my Mother died in 2014.
When my mother passed, Susie came to me with a bag of Chinese “Joss Paper” money which resembled legal tender notes. It looked like thousands of dollars or something in a big plastic bag.
Susie said, “You burn this money for your Mother so she can use it in heaven.” I did not understand what she meant during my grief, but I still followed Susie’s advice as I always did. She always knew best. While I am sure I violated a Riverside ordinance, my wife, my daughter and I burnt that Joss Paper money in our backyard at our home on Herrick Road.
After talking to some of Susie’s family, I know that they will be burning these same Joss Paper bills for Susie. I can only imagine what Susie and Judy Baar Topinka will do with so much money in heaven. I suspect they will invest it in the community and make things better there as they both made things better here on Earth.
Zhùfú, Susie. You will be missed.
Joseph Baar Topinka