In Memory of




Obituary for Che Cheang Fu

Che Cheung Fu was born on April 4, 1931 in Hong Kong. He had 21 siblings and he was the youngest son. His father had three wives.

Che Cheung’s grandfather came from Chaozhou city, Guangdong Province, China. He moved to Hong Kong in the late 1800’s and was a successful merchant, opening up to 10 stores in Hong Kong that included a soap making store, a match store and a coal store. His grandfather would pass on the stores to his sons, but they ran the stores poorly and times got tough.

In 1941 Hong Kong fell to the Japanese. What little the Fu family had was gone. Schools were closed, so Che Cheung who was 10 years old at the time, had no further education. He only attended 3 years of elementary school.

Food was in short supply throughout the city so Che Cheung had to work to survive. He worked in a variety of hard jobs at this time; as an errand boy for a number of Indian owned stores by the Star Ferry Terminal, in a shoe factory, as an office boy, and as a truck driver for the British army. At the shoe factory his foreman was the first to teach him Kung Fu, a martial art practice that would grow to be an important passion of his throughout his life.

After the war, Che Cheung would then later work at Shek-O, a south-eastern part of HK island, to maintain the grounds and mow the grass for a golf course. This was a formative event because that is where he first met Chris’ birth parents at Big Wave Bay.

He was well liked by the villagers at Big Wave Bay because he helped build the first pebble road into the village. At the time there was only a hiking trail through the forest into the village and it was difficult for the villagers to bring things in and out. Over a few years, Che Cheung would secretly use the tractor from the golf course and leftover gravel to pave the road on his own accord.

Che Cheung got married in 1961 when he was 29. His wife was Cheng Lai Har. They were introduced by his sisters.

In November 1969 Che, Lai Har and their daughter Siu Kuen left Hong Kong and emigrated to Canada to look for a better life and escape the riots that were happening in Hong Kong at the time. Everybody was worried that China would invade Hong Kong. First they moved to Lytton, then to Lillooet, and eventually settled in Vancouver in 1971.

Che Cheung was connected to his community. No one would describe him as quiet or shy; he was vibrant and animated, even when he was over 90 years old. If you were walking the streets of Chinatown, it was common to be stopped by shopkeepers and neighbours who had known him for many years, if not decades. He would greet them with a smile, often like he had a joke on the tip of his tongue. They would laugh in response. Many had known him from his days as a Tai Chi teacher at Carnegie Community Center where he taught Tai Chi. He was committed to his craft and sharing his passion with his community, something that many of his students were grateful for.

Che Cheung could be giving and generous. When he was in Hong Kong, he helped pay for the tuition of a childhood friend to go to school when he had little means himself. That would become a friendship that would last a lifetime. He taught Tai chi free of charge at the Carnegie Community Center and in retirement, would readily offer his Tai chi teachings to anyone interested. He loved to give his grandchildren jade and money; his way of showing care.

Che Cheung held himself with pride. He only obtained a grade 3 education but his journey would lead him to becoming a general worker for BC Ferries for 17 years. A fact he often impressed upon his grandchildren with pride and as a lesson. But most of all, he was proud of his daughter and grandchildren and would never waste an opportunity to introduce us to his acquaintances and speak about our university education.

He was also proud of the life he was able to give us. He has often talked about his struggle in not having the ability to choose in his hard life growing up. He often told the grandchildren how lucky they were to have the option to choose. We are so grateful that grandpa helped give us that better life in Canada. He is survived by his daughter and three Grandchildren – Tim, Jennifer, and Michael.

Che Cheang loved Chinatown and he spent the last weeks of his earthly life in Burnaby General Hospital.

In his memory, if you would like to make a donation, please consider the following: