Annette Kuo-Yen Chiu
December 20, 1933 – January 7, 2021
Annette Kuo-yen Cheng was born in Canton on December 20, 1933. She was the youngest of five siblings, and had four older brothers Donald, Louis, Samuel and Robert, and she was lovingly referred to as Netty. After many years of hardship in China, the family made the move to the United States in 1949. They made their first home in San Mateo, CA and shortly moved to LA so that all the children could attend USC.
During the first 15 years stateside, the family opened Tempbell Imports & Exports, Coral Sea Restaurant, Don’s Steakhouse and 5 Lanterns Restaurants in Covina and Whittier. Everyone in the family worked together to run and grow these businesses, while they all attended USC.
Annette graduated from USC with a Bachelor of Science in 1954 majoring in Medical Technology. When she started, she did not know the English language. She used to tell the story of boiling water for weeks in the Chemistry Lab with her brother Sam because they had no idea what they were supposed to do with the language barrier. When she took Latin, she would translate it into Chinese and then translate it back to English. She was truly a remarkable woman to be able to obtain her bachelors in 3 years while learning a new language. She started her career at St. John’s Hospital as a Med Tech until she moved to Covina in 1958 where she worked at Inter Community Hospital for 25 years and eventually supervised the Hematology department until she retired in 1992.
Annette married Seymour Chiu on February 2, 1957 after being introduced to him through a mutual friend. They began their family in 1958 when Mark was born and continued to grow their family with Tina, Debbie and Stanley. In September of 1971, Seymour was diagnosed with lung cancer and she was widowed on January 24, 1972. She was left to raise their four children by herself.
Annette continued to work hard to provide for the family. She never wanted her children to miss out on the trips they took as a family when Seymour was alive. She saved and continued the summer vacations so that the family could be together. Even after everyone started to get married and have their own children, she would treat everyone to a family trip. She took them to June Lake, Sunriver OR, Alaska, and the Caribbean. She loved to make the grandchildren laugh and enjoyed seeing the family all together and having fun. Education was very important to her and she was able to send all four children to a university to set them up for success as an adult. Her family was everything to her.
Annette loved gardening but discovered her true love was in photography after she took over the family photo responsibilities that Seymour started. Her photography career started in 1974 when she first joined 2 local camera clubs which were affiliated with S4C (Southern California Council of Camera Clubs) and was actively competing in clubs, councils and international competitions for the next 40 yrs. She started color printing in photo labs between 1986-1996, competed and earned numerous awards including the PSA Photographic Excellence EPSA in 1999. She was awarded the Distinguished Fellow S4C in 1997. Annette held several positions in the Photographic organizations including Nature Chairman in 8 different organizations as well as Vice President and Director in many others organizations.
With her love of photography, she became a world traveler and had the opportunity to travel to over 20 states and 16 + countries doing what she did best. During her travels, she submitted over 2000 entries in 980 International Salon Exhibitions. She won over 600 ribbons, 200+ medals, 24+ trophies and half a dozen international medals.
Annette sold her home in Covina which she lived in since 1969 and raised her four children in; she then bought a home in Huntington Beach in 2006 to be closer to family. After a back injury in 2018, she was unable to care for herself and was moved to an assisted living facility in Huntington Beach where she could get the best care possible for her.
Annette had a life filled with adventure and took every opportunity to enjoy what she could. Anyone that knows her, knows her love of sports, especially USC football and the LA Lakers. Her love of USC was passed down the generations. She started to instill the USC spirit in her children at a very young age as she loved taking her kids to the SC football game and campus picnics. The family bled cardinal and gold. Annette had a feisty personality and kept everyone around her entertained with her jokes. Most remember her as funny, intelligent, adventurous and extremely generous. She LOVED giving gifts, especially to her family and was always filled with joy when she was around her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was extremely driven and succeeded with whatever she set her mind to. We will all remember her for her generosity, her contagious laugh, concern for others and her sense of humor and her famous last word “one more picture”.
She will be extremely missed! Annette is survived by her four children: Marcus, Tina, Debbie, Stanley , eight grandchildren: Brandon, Chrissy, Aimee, Michal, Lauren, Delany, Zachary, Bonnie and three great grandchildren: Irie, Thea and Naomi.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to the US China Christian Institute (USCCI).
This non-profit organization was founded by Dr. John Wong (Annette’s cousin) and is a humanitarian organization dedicated to meeting people’s needs in health, education and friendship, through people-to-people contacts and services around the world.
The majority of the board members are part of our family and they have helped many people through USCCI as they send teams of doctors and dentist who volunteer their time and donate services to those most in need.
You can read about many of their trips at uscci.blogspot.com (see link below). Annette would be honored to know that her life will continue to make an impact worldwide and will be life changing for individuals.
If you would like to donate, please make a check payable to “US China Christian Institute (USCCI)” and mail it to the address listed below. Please put “In memory of Annette Chiu” in the memo line. Thank you for your generous support.
USCCI c/o Alice Wong
21 Gateview Drive
Fallbrook, CA 92028
- US China Christian Institute
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Annette Kuo-Yen Chiu
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January 17, 2021
Annette was a dear friend of my mother Vera Rheuark. They were close friends, worked together at InterCommunity Hospital and remained friends for years thereafter until my Mother passed away in 2017. After my Mom passed away, Annette and I would speak frequently. I enjoyed her calls. She was a wonderful person. My condolences for your loss.
January 16, 2021
Continued from previous message by Lauren Geoffrion....
I wish I knew her better before her health began to deteriorate and consume her livelihood, but I can still see and experience what an incredible woman she was through my family and from the few memories I had of her. I love you Popo.
May her memory be eternal!
January 16, 2021
“I love you more than you love me!”, was her oft repeated phrase exclaimed through the phone before saying goodbye.
Annette Chiu, my Popo, was an incredible woman, loving her family the best ways she knew how. These last few of years I got to talk to her every week on the phone. It was rarely more than 10 min, just a small update on happenings of the week, usually consisting of appointments coming up, experiences of bodily ailments, wanting to hear the latest update of the twins or Med school, and sometimes discussing the news. Though I was small and didn’t know her well before her body began to fail her, I have come to know her through her stories and seeing how the person described is passed on in her children, and even her grandchildren. She was generous, always wanting to share her possessions with her children and grandchildren, especially as she grew older and wasn’t able to utilize as many things. She was adventurous, becoming a world traveler for her photography, especially throughout Africa, before ‘wanderlust’ was a disease that every college student needed to satiate. She was resilient and had grit: which is seen by her raising 4 children on her own after my Gunggung passed away at an early age, and can be seen in her children as each have pursued their careers and raised their children to work hard for their goals. She was funny and loved to be social, even as her health began to decline and gatherings became more difficult for her over the years, she would muster up the strength to crack jokes when she got the chance. And she loved her family; deeply, possesively, aggressively (sometimes to my toddlers’ chagrin), and loyally. She remembered and reminded me every year of the anniversary of my grandfather’s death and birthday, and always sent cards (or emails, when she could no longer write as well) for every holiday, birthday, or reason to celebrate. She delighted in children which was evident in the ways she played with and spoiled us grandchildren
January 16, 2021
Dear Friend, we shared so many awesome times traveling together, coming to our house for ‘photo shoots’, camera club times or just hanging out together. They were the best of times and you ALWAYS spoke of them each time we chatted on the phone. You can now mess up Orv’s hair for real as he went to Heaven right behind you. My heart is very heavy right now as I try to write this through tears.
May God Bless you and we shall meet again one day.
Love you always,
January 15, 2021
Mom had boundless energy I recall in our first house back in 1997, she would be chasing Delany all around the house, up and down the stairs, playing hide and seek with her and just being silly.
It was that same energy that she raised all four of us by herself. I remembered that she would work many major holidays, not to get away from all of us kids (well maybe) but because she saw it as an opportunity to earn 2-3 times her normal wage, just so she could provide us a life like we never lost Dad. She would love to give gifts as a sign of her love and her generosity was as fierce as her love for photography and Trojan Football. Until the day she left us, she continued to serve as an inspiration. Bonnie just said last month that she encouraged her to aim higher with college. In many ways, she made all of us better people. Now she is in a better place with Dad without any physical limitations to slow her down. We all love you and will miss you dearly. Below is a photo of Annette on our Sunriver trip. Fight On!
January 15, 2021
Annette and I were the "girl" cousins of the Wong side of the family. Her mom, Dorothy and my mother, Lyda, were two of six girls. Yep, a family of ten with four additional boys. Some of eldest sisters remained in China and one sister died as an adolescent. Experiences and memories of Annette aren't complete - 18 years separated us. She did tell me of two phrases I used to utter as a toddler, "It don't go match" and calling the moon, "white light." Throughout our lives, here's what I remember - spending alternating summers in SoCal watching Miss America, eating sour peaches and green gage plums, running through Five Lanterns restaurant, learning to ride a skateboard, Jolly the collie and pool parties. Later in life, Annette visited me in NoCal, spending 4-5 hours shooting pics of Juliana (my daughter). And spending time at her Palm Desert condo for several days with her older brother, Louis. Annette made me "batty" during USC games since I attended UC Berkeley ("Go Bears"). When Annette's husband, Seymour, died, Annette raised 4 adolescents/preteens - a huge responsibility. She also worked in healthcare (radiology). A well-balanced individual, she also took up a right-brained activity, photography, and was accorded honors (likened to Ansel Adams and mentioned in the "who's who of American women." Annette was pivotal in getting cousins together and I was privileged to attend one at Debbie's house. She and I spoke annually and I always received an e-card during the holidays. The most recent and last - Juliana and her dad and I visited in January, 2013. We had dinner with her, older brothers (Louis and Sammy), Louis' wife, Kay, and one of Sammy's sons, Simon. Annette was her usual self (I'll leave that statement to your imagination) but it was fun reminiscing and having dinner. And to you, Annette, pain free and sharing time with Seymour - your children (Marcus, Tina, Debbie, Stanley) and I "friends" of Facebook, so we all remain in contact.
January 14, 2021
My mother lived a full and productive life, she raised four successful children by herself, traveled the world on many, many photography trips, won thousands of awards on her photos and made many friends along the way. She taught me how to be a strong, productive, generous, creative woman. I carry many of her traits with me and they have served me well. I have passed on those traits to my own children so she will live on for generations to come. I remember when she would come over when the kids were young and take them to get ice cream or any other treat they wanted. She would always ask to help around the house with laundry, doing dishes or playing with the kids. She was a doer in every way. When her great grand babies arrived, she was thrilled and just wanted to kiss their little feet. She would absolutely light up when she saw those babies. She will be missed dearly by all that knew her. RIP my dear mother and enjoy your reunion with daddy. You are finally back together after 49 years.