Jen Liu Kao

May 6, 1922September 28, 2012

Jen Liu Kao, 90, passed away peacefully on Friday, September 28, 2012 in Seattle, Washington.

She is survived by her husband Chih-Tsung Kao of Seattle; daughters Sue Chen, Ming Ying, and San Chu; grandchildren Ernest Chen, Marlene Chen, Chris Ying, Jeffrey Chu, Evelyn Ying Wildeman, and Bryant Chu; and great-grandchildren Brandon and Wesley Chu, and Colin and Lucy Wildeman.

Born on May 6, 1922, in Suzhou, China, Jen's life carried her to Taiwan and eventually to Seattle where she resided for over 20 years. Jen was a wonderful cook, avid player of mahjong and was a dedicated Mariner's fan.

At her request, Mrs. Kao will have a private family service.


I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one. I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done.

I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways, Of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.

I’d like the tears of those who grieve to dry before the sun Of happy memories that I leave when life is done.


Jen Liu Kao

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Eleni & Kelly Carras

October 13, 2012

It is an honor for us to participate today to pay tribute to Po-Po and to witness the love and generosity she gave to her family time and time again. Sharing your memories of Po-Po with each other will keep her spirit and teachings present in your day to day lives.

Kendra Kelly

October 13, 2012

I always enjoyed hearing stories from Marlene about watching the Mariners games with her grandmother - especially learning all of her grandmother's nicknames for each player.

Colin and Lucy Wildeman

October 13, 2012

Dear Tai PoPo,
We miss you and your kindness. We look at your photo often.
Lucy and Colin Wildeman

Brandon Chu

October 13, 2012

Hello, dear Tai Po,
You are a favorite of mine. I love you. You were nice. I'm glad I got to visit you last year. We love you.
Love, Brandon

Marlene Chen

October 13, 2012

I have had the good fortune to be the grandchild that lived closest to my grandmother. I was here when she moved to Seattle and have lived here for the past 16 years since college and have loved being here with her as an adult.

The following are stories of the two of us divided into the stories that she told me over and over (ones of my childhood) and ones that I remember clearly as an adult.

She loved telling me the following stories of my childhood. I'm not sure why, but I feel like one shows the affection I had for her as a child and the other just goes to show how much she cared for me.

The story of the glasses - Poa had these enormous coke-bottle glasses. They were like goggles that made your eyes cross. She would wear them laying down in bed holding a book over her face to read. When I was little, I would take those eye-crossing glasses and grab her book, lay in my bed and pretend to be her. When she recounted this story to me as an adult and she used to laugh with a sweet smile on her face.

The story of the lite brite - as a small toddler, I ingested a small lite brite piece and my grandmother made sure that it came out - if you know what I mean. I'm sure seeing your granddaughter eating a small plastic piece was stressful and would only be relieved if you could be certain that it came out. I don't recall this story in my memory, but she never let me forget her dedication to me when she recounted that story to me.

Terms of endearment - When I was a child (and sometimes as an adult), my grandmother called me apple face (in Mandarin of course) and herself orange face because I had the skin of a young girl and she had the skin of an older woman. It was usually while in a gesture of holding my face in her hands.

Making Tsong-Tze - Every time my grandmother came to visit us, our house was filled with the smell of delicious Chinese dishes that felt special. These were dishes my mother did not usually make. Poa would stand there in the kitchen and wash the rice for these steamed rice bundles wrapped in banana leaves. My brother loved the ones filled with meat, but I loved the plain ones that I could dip in sugar and she always made me a couple of those for me.

As an adult in these stories, these are my memories of her and not her memories of us.

Taking her to a Mariners at Safeco Field - You know by now that grandma was an avid Mariner's fan. Devoted even when they stunk. When I took her to a game in 2002, I think she liked that atmosphere, but she couldn't see the ball. So many times she would look to the outfield and I would have to say, "grandma, the ball is in at first base". I learned, while the atmosphere was great, I learned for Poa, having the TV coverage was best.

Hardly Hearing - In the latter part of her life, Poa's hearing was limited. Driving with her when her hearing was poor - so many times my family would be driving (inevitably to go out to eat since that was one of her most favorite activities) and we would all be having a conversation and right in the middle of someone talking, Poa would start talking about a non-sequitur and the conversation took an immediate left turn in response, but she still couldn't or wouldn't follow that conversation. You just went with it. Hilarity would ensue.

I'm not sure what the cohesive theme of these disparate stories are, but maybe it's just that I feel so lucky to have had so many years to know and love and learn from her.

I am grateful for such a good and loving grandmother and to have been fortunate enough to spend so many years with her. Poa, I will miss you.

October 11, 2012

Tribute to My Grandmother

My maternal grandmother lived a life that spanned nine decades and two continents. To say that we, her family, are sad at her passing is simply human nature. However, what we tend to forget is that this woman, brought incredibly joy and humor to all of our lives.

For the first 20 years of my life, my grandmother resided in Taiwan before she moved to the States in 1990 and I would see her once or twice a year. But during those visits she was everything you would want a grandmother to be. She spoiled my sister and I by always giving us what we wanted and let us take care of her as well, as she would make giving HER a massage something that became something we GOT to do. I never was wise enough to ask about her life, however, and by the time I wanted to, her hearing had diminished to the point where communication with her was nearly impossible, often borderline comical. Trying to talk with her was a challenge and it became a regular laugh between my sister and when we compared notes on our attempts at our conversations with her. We both suspect that there was always a bit of selective hearing on hand as well. Grandma was a crafty one. But for me, the memory of her that will stay with me forever is her devotion to our beloved Seattle Mariners. For a woman who never mastered the English language, baseball was her connection to American culture. When the Mariners were great in the late 90's and early 2000's, she had fantastic (and often politically incorrect) nicknames for the players. And during these lean years, she always knew when the Mariners played and their opponents. Family events sometimes revolved around when a game was on television. One of my fervent wishes was for the Mariners to again be a winning team again not just for Seattle pride, but to make my grandmother happy. I will miss how my grandmother's first question to me is what I want to eat. I will miss her simply sitting there gazing at me as I sat there in her house. I will miss that look on her face when she understood what I had just yelled into her ear. But most of all, I will miss my grandmother's, a 90 year old Chinese woman, passion for baseball, a American game.

--Ernest Chen (grandson)

Jingyi Liu

October 11, 2012

Dearest elder Sister:
I am sorry for your loss! All we in China miss you so much!
Takecare on the way!
Your younger sister Jingyi