Aging over 100 years old is quite a milestone to pass in your life, but Sum Ying Fung passed that age and stood at the grand age of 112 making her the oldest living Canadian. However she sadly passed away December 6th, only seven weeks before her 113th birthday, while she was receiving treatment for pneumonia in Burnaby General Hospital. Her memorial service is to be held this on the 16th of December.
Born in 1899 in the Guangdong province of China, Fung’s life bared witness to many historic occasions, living through both world wars and being in China at the time of the democratic uprising.
She married Chong Lim Fung who often travelled back and forth to Canada for work and visit his growing family. Fung however wasn’t allowed to join her husband in Vancouver due to immigration laws. In 1954, Fung was allowed to immigrate with her family to Canada and settled in Vancouver’s Chinatown. Sadly a few years later in 1967, her husband passed away and her family moved to East Vancouver.
At the age of 90, Fung underwent brain surgery but recovered from that and remarkably travelled the world with her family, visiting Germany, France and Italy. Their travels eventually brought them to China in the late 1980s – at the same time the democratic uprising occurred, where tanks were brought in the streets leading to the deaths of hundreds of protesters.
When Fung was 111, she still hadn’t given up her globetrotting days and visited her son in California in 2010 which was her last voyage. Her 112th birthday last Jan 27th was acclaimed by the city of Vancouver and a letter from the Queen.
Fung had many peculiar beliefs that conflicted with modern society, particularly with women’s bathing suits. Her stance on this issue was seen when she wore no less than a dress at a beach in Hawaii during a visit. She also held a strong belief that tap water could possibly be contaminated and insisted on only drinking water that had already been boiled. Perhaps a secret to her long lasting life?
With a son, daughter, 14 grandchildren, 25 great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren, Fung has quite a large family to carry on her husband’s name. May she rest in peace.