Gene O. Chan, 90, of Sacramento, California, passed away peacefully on November 30, 2022.
Gene was born June 21, 1932, in Locke, California, the oldest of two children of the late Francis and Lillian Chan. He served in the U.S. Air Force, stateside, during the Korean War. Following his discharge from the service, he attended California Polytechnic State University, graduating in 1959 with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. On March 22, 1959, he married the late Louise Fong and together they raised four children. During their 55 years of marriage, he and Louise regularly hosted large holiday gatherings for their extended families. Gene was employed by Aerojet General as an Aeronautical Engineer for over 34 years, retiring in June 1993. Following retirement, he and Louise spent time visiting children and grandchildren and traveling with Louise's sibling and their spouses. He was active in the American Legion and the Locke Foundation. As the great grandson of a Chinese transcontinental railroad worker, stories that he provided of his great grandfather, Jim King, and his uncle, William King, to the Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association (CRWDA) were featured in the keynote address of the 150th Golden Spike Celebration conference held in Salt Lake City, May 2019. Although he was not able to attend, a video interview of him was presented at the conference. Gene has been interviewed by the BBC, by the Locke Foundation, by a photographer contracted by National Geographic, and by many others. His railroad worker descendent story is featured in Voices from the Railroad, Stories by descendants of Chinese railroad workers, edited by Sue Lee and Connie Young Yu (2019). He is preceded in death by his wife, Louise, and grandson, Micah. He is survived by his sister and brother-in-law, Barbara and John Wong, and his four children and their spouse/partner: Karen and Jim Valentine, Mark and Jocelin Chan, Susan and Kenny Tam, and Patricia Chan and Rhandee Leano. He is also survived by his grandchildren and their spouse/fiancÃ©e: Michelle and Christopher Stoddart (spouse), Brandon Tam and Casie Vu (fiancÃ©e), Niko Kashima, Alexander Valentine, Jaden Chan, and Kian Chan. Finally, he is survived by his beloved dog, Paisley.
A private service will be held by the family. A larger Celebration of Life will be held on a future date in 2023.