Esther Jung Chou

January 11, 1926February 16, 2021

Esther Chou passed away peacefully on February 16, 2021 at the age of 95. She will be remembered by many in the Triad area as the co-owner of Jung’s Chinese restaurant located on N. Church Street in Greensboro. Many school children, faculty and staff at David Jones Elementary and Canterbury schools know Esther from her volunteer work in their Media Centers throughout the 80s and 90s, for which she received the 1992 "Guilford County School System Volunteer of the Year Award.” When she herself was a senior, Esther volunteered delivering mobile meals.

Fellow residents of the Pennybyrn independent living community in High Point will remember long-time resident Esther for her sharp wit and outstanding ability to recognize and remember faces, names and stories of all she met.

From the time she was a little girl, Esther loved movies and could recognize actors from a glimpse on the screen. She attended plays on Broadway, and attended concerts and cultural events in the Triad area.

Esther’s parents were Tong Wong Jung of Oofook, Hoisan, Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China and Gook Gee Lee of Pahala, Hilo, Hawaii. Her family owned and operated the Wah On Noodle Factory and the Chicago restaurant in Norfolk, Virginia from the 1920s to the 1950s.

She was born Esther May Jung, the youngest sister of six children: Miriam Tong Jung, Elizabeth Doris Jung, John Edward Jung, Jack David Jung and Jim Don Jung. All six siblings were born in the Norfolk/Newport News region of Virginia.

She attended Holt Street Elementary and Ruffner Junior High schools in Norfolk, Virginia, graduating Maury High School in 1943.

In 1955, Esther married college professor I-Kua Chou of Sining, China. Esther lived in Williamsburg, Virginia and New York City before returning to Norfolk. In 1959, she and I-Kua had a son, Ellsworth Ting Sheng Chou.

Following the loss of their mother in 1965 she, four of her siblings and their families relocated to Greensboro, North Carolina and opened a restaurant together. Eventually, groups of the siblings opened separate restaurants in Greensboro and Raleigh, NC. Esther and sister Elizabeth operated Jung’s Restaurant at 314 N. Church Street in Greensboro until Elizabeth passed away in 1981.

An avid traveler, Esther went on several globe-trotting adventures with friend Betty Kusenberg. Their destinations included the Soviet Union, Spain, Morocco, Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. With her son and in-laws she traveled China, Western Europe, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. She was a fun travel companion and a good sport.

Esther was predeceased by her five siblings. She is survived by son Ellsworth Chou and his wife Joni Varner-Chou of North Hollywood, California. She is also survived by sister-in-law Virginia Lowe Jung of El Cerrito, CA; nieces Lillian Elizabeth Ng of Brookhaven, GA and Kathy Jung of El Cerrito, CA; nephews John Alan Jung of Oakland, CA, Robert Stuart Jung of Los Altos, CA and Kenneth Gene Ng of Raleigh, NC; grand nephews John Aaron Jung of Richmond, CA and Christopher Allen Wong of San Francisco, CA; grand niece Sarah Kathryn Wong of El Cerrito, CA; grand nieces Naomi and Amy Jung of Los Altos, CA and great-grand nieces Amelia and Ada Jung of Richmond, CA.

Esther will be remembered as a loving and caring mother, mother-in-law, aunt and cousin. Friends and acquaintances will remember her as a sweet and kind soul. She will be missed.

A Virtual Memorial will be held; details will be updated at

Esther’s final resting place will be Forest Lawn Cemetery in Greensboro, NC alongside her sister Elizabeth.

See a son’s tribute here

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate your donations to: Canterbury School Library, 5400 Old Lake Jeanette Rd, Greensboro, NC 27455, “In memory of Esther Jung Chou.” Online donations may be made in her name at


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Esther Jung Chou

have a memory or condolence to add?

Edward Allred

February 19, 2021

Ellsworth, please know that I will always hold fond memories of your mother. Mr. Ed Allred your 6th grade teacher.