Betty K.T. Ong

July 7, 1932May 31, 2013
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ONG, Betty Kow Ten On May 31, 2013, we lost a very special lady, Betty, who was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, relative and friend to all. Passed away at the age of 81 in Sacramento, California surrounded by her loving family.

Betty was born on July 7, 1932 in Toisan, southern Guangdong province, China to parents Bing and Suey Lee. She married her husband, Wai Ock, on November 25, 1953 and for 60 years remained the rock of the family.

Survived by her husband, Wai Ock Ong; daughters, May Linn Lee (Barry), Pauline Ong-Granis (Richard), Carol Ong; and son Arnold Ong. Loving Paw Paw to her three grandchildren, Michelle Lee, Adrienne Lee, and Bryant Lee; sister to Katie Lee and Young Lee; and has many other family members.

Betty was happiest being a wife and mother who in the mid 1950s helped with the family income working seasonally at Del Monte and Bercut-Richards canneries. She also enjoyed occasional trips to Thunder Valley and family dinners.

Betty will always be remembered for her unyielding devotion to her family and her talkative nature. Her laughter and smile could light up the room.

Family and friends are welcome for visitation at the wake on Thursday, June 6, 2013 from 5:00-7:00 pm at Harry A. Nauman & Son, 4041 Freeport Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95822. Service for the family will be Friday, June 7, 2013, at 11am, also at Harry A. Nauman & Son, with interment following the service.

The family would like to especially thank the UC Davis Medical Center staff who took care of our mom during this very difficult time, particularly the CTICU staff.


  • Visitation Thursday, June 6, 2013
  • Funeral Service Friday, June 7, 2013

Betty K.T. Ong

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Richard Granis

June 12, 2013

Mom ~

You and dad accepted me when others would not have for that I am very grateful. I learned so much from you on customs I had no knowledge of, and on foods that I had never tried. Your constant love and devotion is something I will cherish for all of my life. You were always there for all of us and your devotion to family was unmatched. Your laughter and talkative nature was always a bright spot for me. Thank you for all you have given me and I will give back to you by remembering you forever.

Richard, son-in-law

Michelle Lee

June 10, 2013

Today I come to speak about Paw Paw,
A loving grandmother, mother, and wife,
Let's not drown ourselves in tears and, instead,
Let's celebrate her life.

Most of the things that Paw Paw said to me
I just could not understand.
When she spoke to me in her Chinese
I usually turned to Gung Gung for a hand.

But even though there was this barrier,
Paw Paw would still call us every day.
And every time, we'd say to her,
“Mom's at work, dad's asleep, and we're at school today.”
(Seriously, every day, and then she'd say, “Ooooh,” and then CLICK!)

Since last year, more get-togethers and family time
Was in everybody's thoughts,
And Paw Paw would say, “Sounds good to me!
Let's hit up the buffet and slots!”

Paw Paw really enjoyed gambling.
She also enjoyed her usual strolls.
Gung Gung and her would often walk downtown
To Spinners to get their cinnamon rolls.

Paw Paw and Gung Gung were perfect together.
They were each other's better half.
And at dinners one of my favorite things
Was trying to make both of them laugh.

Whether it was with a funny joke, a face,
Or acting like a silly little kid,
Paw Paw loved me unconditionally,
No matter whatever crazy thing I did.
(And I did a LOT of crazy things.)

Paw Paw, I loved you just as much,
And I just want you to know,
That you were surrounded by all of your loved ones
When you decided it was time to go.

Paw Paw, you were a courageously strong woman,
Just one of the very few,
So please do not worry about us. We love you dearly,
And we'll take good care of Gung Gung for you.

Arnold Ong

June 8, 2013

Childhood Memories

One of my earliest memories of Mommy was when she took me to the Riverside United Methodist Church, and that is where I learned to sing the song “Jesus loves me – this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

When I was young, I tended to get sick a lot. Mommy would rub my forehead, my stomach, and back to comfort me. She would make me sip 7-Up. I think she thought it had great healing powers. She would also cook Lap Cheong over rice for me.

During the summer time, I would play outside and run around with my friends until dark. When I would get hot and dirty, Mommy would always wipe my face and the back of my neck so I wouldn't get sick or catch a cold. Yes, she did this in front of my friends.

When we went to the dentist office, we would take a bus ride just the two of us to downtown. It was just Mommy and me. Afterwards, we went to a nearby deli, and got burgers and fries.

When I was young, sometimes the entire family would go out on a fishing trip to Cameron Park. Mommy was not an outdoor person. She never fished, but she was there for us feeding us lunch.

These are among the earliest memories I have of Mommy.

I love you and will miss you Mommy.


Carol Ong

June 8, 2013

Memories of Mommie by Daughter Carol

During our childhood my mother knitted sweaters and vests. Sometimes they were quite colorful, and I remember wearing them to school and wondering if this sweater or vest even matched my clothes. She later taught me how to knit, but I never made a sweater like she did.

She would take my brother and me on the bus to go shopping at Woolworth's. In the basement at the lunch counter, we would have Jell-O with dab of whip cream on top or she would buy us a piece of candy.

I was often sick as a child. Mommie would take care of me by rubbing (White Flower Oil) and other Chinese oils on me. Sometimes, I would have to go see the doctor after a few days. The doctor would sniff and smell all the Chinese oils on me and say to me, “I see your mother has been taking care of you.” Mommie would make me soup to try to get me better. Some of the medicine type of soups didn't taste very good. I used to try to hide my cough and cough into a pillow, but she always found out and would still make me those soups.

She also made soup when we were growing up not just because we were sick, but almost daily to drink after dinner. As a teenager I started to not want to drink the soups, and she would tell me that the soups were good for me, and it would make my hair shine, my nails grow, and my skin glow, etc.
The funny thing is as an adult people would compliment me about my hair and my nails. I would credit my mom and tell them that I used to believe she would tell me all the things her soups would do just to get me to drink her soups. Mommie was right.

My father liked watching sports on the television, and my mother would sit by his side and watch sports even though she do not understand how some of the games were played. She particularly liked figure skating and would stay up late to see if Michelle Kwan won. She liked watching the Olympics and loved watching the Beijing opening ceremonies for the 2008 Summer Olympics. I got her a DVD of the opening ceremony which she watched over and over again.

When Yao Ming became the first Chinese NBA player my mom started to become more interested in basketball. When my dad would turn on a basketball game on the television, it didn't the matter who was playing she would ask “Is Yao Ming playing?” She just assumed he played every time there was a basketball game.

My mother and my father settled into a nice retirement routine usually going out in the late morning to get an early lunch and doing a little shopping for that night's dinner. Afterwards they would go downtown or to Old Sacramento and take walks. They would get lemonade or ice cream so often that that local merchants would have their snacks ready for them when they saw mom and dad coming.

My mother enjoyed the simple things in life and sometimes just the little things like her watching the game show Wheel of Fortune and yelling out “Big money, Big money!”, while clapping her hands would make me laugh.

Mommie, I will always remember these memories and more.

Adrienne Lee

June 8, 2013

Paw Paw was a talkative person, as most of her friends and family already know. She talked a lot and had many stories to tell, but I couldn't understand any of it! She hardly spoke a word of English and I never learned to speak Chinese. But love is something that transcends all barriers and is shared in every language. So even though our conversations mostly ended with puzzled looks to Gung Gung for translation, I always knew that Paw Paw loved us and enjoyed the time our family spent together. I'll always remember the way her face lit up and her smile grew whenever we came to visit.

Even though Paw Paw didn't speak much English, she would often call the house to check on us. When I was little, she used to call almost daily, and at first, I would hand the phone over to Mom (the only one who could understand her). But eventually I tried to decipher what she was saying, and I soon learned that she simply called to ask what we were doing. As all Chinese grandmas do, she spoke really fast and really loud, and I couldn't understand a word until she interjected a name, like “Daddy,” or “Michelle,” or “Di Di.” Then I would answer that Mom was at work, Dad was asleep, Michelle was at school, and Bry was watching TV. Twenty years later, she would still call and my answer was exactly the same! Mom is working, Dad is sleeping, Michelle is at school, and Bry is watching TV. I guess not much has changed with us. But as predictable as we were, she would always call to see how we were doing.

Paw Paw and Gung Gung preferred to live a simple lifestyle where they could truly enjoy the important things in life – family and food! Paw Paw enjoyed going out to family lunches and dinners, and over the past few years we made family outings to Thunder Valley to eat at the buffet. Paw Paw always looked forward to these trips – we would laugh and chat and stuff ourselves, and then we would all crowd around to watch Paw Paw play her “lucky” Wheel of Fortune machine. So Paw Paw, if any of us ever hit the big jackpot at Thunder Valley, we'll know that you are watching over us, smiling, as our lucky charm.

Thank you, Paw Paw, for all the love and memories.

Boo Boo

Barry Lee

June 8, 2013

I wish I had taken the time to talk more with you and learn about your life and history but because you didn't speak much English and I didn't speak Chinese too well there was a communication gap. However, I want you to know that I did love and respect you. I want to thank you for having May and allowing me to marry her and welcoming and embracing me into the family. You have my word that as long as I live, I will love, cherish and protect her as you did before you entrusted her to me. I hope you were as proud of your grandchildren Michelle, Adrienne and Bryant as we are. I hope they gave you many years of joy, laughter and brought much happiness into your life. I will miss the family and holiday dinners together and taking you to Thunder Valley and being amazed at how much you could put away at the buffet and then the fun of playing the Wheel of Fortune slots. I know you are in heaven now watching over and protecting us. Keep my Pop company (he's a good listener) until we can reunite as a family again someday. You truly were a special person and will be missed. Love you, Mom.


Pauline Ong-Granis

June 8, 2013

Memories of my Mom ~

My early memories of my mom was her cooking family dinners until the time dad retired, then dad started to do all the cooking. I guess she had enough and thought it was time that she enjoyed restaurant food or dad's cooking.

We never really had a "real" pet, like your traditional dog or cat, but I do remember a lovely white chicken, a cute bunny rabbit, a rather large turtle, and lots of black bass fishes swimming in a tub in the backyard. Sometime later, I found out that they weren't really pets; and I really shouldn't have named them because eventually Harveyanna the rabbit and Myrtle the turtle ended up as the day's dinner meal.

I also remember the annual Chinese New Year's preparation of “Dong” (Chinese Tamales), Sesame Balls, Deep Fried Bow Ties, and Fried Wontons filled with coconut and peanuts. They were good times when family and friends gathered in the kitchen making all kinds of goodies for the New Year.

She didn't have too many hobbies but I do remember her sewing and knitting vests for us. She also had a vegetable garden with Chinese long beans & bitter melons.

During her time working at the canneries I remember her coming home at dawn when we were all just awaking up. She would sleep through the day and have dinner ready for us when dad would come home from a long day's work at the store. It was hard and tiring work and she did it for many years.

Vacation trips to San Francisco to visit our aunt and uncle were always fun because they owned a restaurant and we got to eat anything we wanted. Weekend trips to Reno and visits to her brother; Young, and his family in Fresno made a lot of good memories. Visits to my mom's sister; Katie, and her family with all the kids; Dale, Larry, and Edward together swimming in their backyard pool was so much fun.

She never ventured too far from home after settling in Sacramento, probably because home is where she found solitude, a sense of belonging, and comfort with her family and small circle of friends.

When I was young all her friends used to tell her that I looked most like her, I am proud to look like her any time. So, when I look in the mirror now I will think of my mom looking back at me.

Simple and content, that's my mom. I love you and will forever miss you.

Daughter Pauline

Bev Fong

June 8, 2013

To our favorite Uncle Wai Ock & Family
We are so sorry for the loss of Auntie Betty. We still remember the time the two of you came to visit us in Escalon shortly after your wedding. Also remembering the times I ran into the two of you walking downtown and in Old Town during my lunch! Bonnie remembers baby sitting for you during the summer. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Take care!

Bryant Lee

June 8, 2013

Being the youngest grandchild, I've spent the least amount of time with Paw Paw, but I still hold many memories dear to my heart about her: The constant phone calls home just to check on us and see what we're up to, calling me Di-Di instead of Bryant, and always getting shrimp chips with our chicken whenever our family went out to dinner. I'm glad I got to see Paw Paw in her last days and I got to spend her final moments with her and my family. I love you Paw Paw and I know you're watching over me and my family.


May Linn Lee

June 7, 2013

Memories of Mom
Since I was the oldest of the four children, naturally I was the one who always had to help care for the others and do the chores. Being the oldest wasn't always that bad though because I would learn a lot of things from my mom. I remember when she taught me how to fill and fold the leaves together to make joong. She also taught me how to bake the delicious light sponge cake that everyone loved so much. I still make it to this day. She also taught me how to sew and I ended up making my own clothes and my senior ball dress. It is always special when you learn something that your mom has taught you, as it stays within your heart for the rest of your life.
Things I remember of mom:
• Getting chicken pox and she made me wear a piece of dried grapefruit peel dangling around my neck for days so I wouldn't itch.
• Drinking the bitter “gao ly” soup she made that is supposed to cure everything from acne to the common cold.
• The parades we use to go watch downtown on K Street and afterwards we would pass by the Fox Theatre to get a box of the Caramel popcorn.
• Going to Fairytale town, the zoo and getting to ride the ponies at the park almost every Sunday.
• Going shopping for clothes and mom would always end up buying the same outfits for both me and my sister, Pauline.
Mom, sometimes you make me laugh, but now you've made me cry. I will miss you dearly and will be blowing a kiss each day your way... Love you...... May