Saturday, August 29, 2015

Kwok Relatives 1930s-1940's.

My grandfather Wai Shing had a very special and close relationship with his younger brother Thomas through the years. Here are the brothers as young men.

And here are the brothers when older.

Thomas has a very interesting history. Born in Kwangtung in China in 1901.  He graduated from Chiaotung Unversity in Shanghai and then emigrated to the US as a student and graduated from Washington University with a D.D.S in 1933, did advanced training in Oral Surgery in St. Louis ,Mo. and then went back to China and became a professor in the College of Dentistry of National Central University in Nanking and had a private practice in Shanghai.   He chose to write his English last name as Call instead of Kwok. My mom says he did not like the way Kwok sounded in English.

Here is a news clip about him .

A picture of Thomas and his wife and with his children.

He wrote to my Uncle Johnny and Katie in 1978 and they went to visit him after Communist China was opened again to American visitors after Nixon's historic visit.

The Kwok brothers had another brother Lt. Kew Kwok of the Chinese Air Force who was killed in action in 1937.

They also had a sister who married  Lukin Pond in St. Louis.  They had two daughters.  Unfortunately this sister died.

My Uncle Johnny visited Lukin Pond and his daughters during the war years.

Pictures Sacramento / Los Angeles 1940 to 1950's.

Here is a collection of photos during the 1940s and 1950's. The Kwok family was in Sacramento during the 1940's and then relocated to the Los Angeles Area in the 1950's .

These first series of pictures are during the 1940's.

My grandfather Rev. Wai Shing Kwok

My grandmother Ko Po Yung Kwok.

In front of the new Church building.

Classroom inside.  Notice the framed portraits of parishioners who were away serving in the military. Their families and the congregation prayed for their well being as World War Two raged on.

On the back of the class in the corner was this picture of my Uncle Johnny, Rev. Wai Shing Kwok's
eldest son who was then flying as a radioman on B-17 bomber missions over Europe.
View inside the main church sanctuary upstairs with visiting Chinese servicemen training in the United States , my grandfather sitting on the left and my grandmother in the rear.

A youth choral group at the Church.  My mother Alice is standing in the front row next to the boy on the far right of the picture who is Russell Fong. My Auntie Esther is in the back row third girl from the right.

A Christmas pageant at the Church.

Rev. Kwok giving a speech at a dinner event. 

My Uncle Johnny 

My Uncle Andy

My Auntie Sarah

My Mother Alice

In 1950 my grandparents retired from their work at Kwai Wah School and the Chinese Christian Church and moved to the San Fernando Valley in order to be closer to their children and grandchildren . My Uncle Johnny had gotten married to my Auntie Katie and settled in Los Angeles , my mom Alice had married my dad Jack and moved to the San Fernando Valley,  my Auntie Esther had married Dan Louie and moved also to  Southern California , as did my Auntie Sarah who married  my Uncle Harry and all started families.  My Uncle Andy also moved to Los Angeles  and the entire family completed their relocation. Here is my Auntie Esther with my cousins Jeffrey and Linda. 

My grandfather's teaching days were not over quite yet however. My paternal grandfather San Tong Jue engaged Rev. Kwok to teach my young aunts and uncle on the Jue Ranch in Van Nuys.  

I have very fond memories of my grandfather who kind of spoiled me as a young kid!

Here is a picture of the entire Kwok Clan from the late 1950's

After my grandfather's death, my grandmother continued the family teaching tradition and tried to teach me Chinese after school.  I was, however, a very poor student and would rather watch cartoons on TV.  I regret that as my Chinese language skills are now only enough to order food at restaurants !
My grandmother Ko Po Yung Kwok later in life. 

Kwok Family in the Sacramento Bee 1940-1949

The decade of  1940 to 1950 was an active one for the Kwok family , for the Kai Wah  School , and the Church.   Here are some clippings from the local Sacramento Bee from this era.

My uncle Johnny gets an early recognition of his potential as an artist , his eventual career.
And speaks at his Junior College Commencement ceremony at Sacramento City College .

The church helps the war effort. 12/19/1941

The new Church building is dedicated 11/2/1941

The congreation hears of the horror of war first hand . 

My Uncle Johnny enters the armed forces.  He later sees combat in Europe flying in a bomber squadron. 

My Uncle Andy is called up from reserves to active duty while in Junior College.

My Uncle Andy spent the war stateside.  Toward the end of the war he was assigned to work at a hospital in Framingham, Mass.  and then after the war was assigned to the freshman medical class at Tufts Medical School . Unfortunately for family reasons my Uncle never completed medical school at that time and went on to be trained as a pharmacist .  Later in life he did complete his dream to
go back to medical school and enrolled in Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine.


The Church  continues to present Christmas pageants every year throughout the war years . Finally the war is over in August of 1945.  This clipping is from December 22 , 1945  There is much to be thankful for this Christmas . 

The law barring Chinese from citizenship is finally repealed and Chinese born  abroad can finally be naturalized as US Citizens. The Church becomes  the site of citizenship classes for those eager to become full Americans including my grandfather, grandmother and Fong Sik ,founder of the school.


My Uncle Johnny and Auntie Katie get married 

An appreciative convert gives the church  $100 anonymously 

 A multiethnic group of temporary postal workers sort the Christmas mail including my Uncle Andy 

Rev. Kwok is interviewed for a piece in the Bee about the meaning of citizenship in a democratic country . 


Rev. Kwok officiates at weddings and funerals and  officiates at the funeral of Fong Sik one of the founders of the Kai Wah School and of the Chinese Church of Christ .

Rev. Kwok often officiated at weddings conducted in the Christian church in the  Chinese town of Locke south of Sacramento . This town was settled by people who like Rev. Kwok were from the Chungsan region of South China . He knew many of the people in that town and would be called upon to officiate at funerals as well .In this earlier post on another blog I discuss the Christian Church in Locke. 


My Mom and Dad announce their enagagement !