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Obituary for Rose Marie Lee Wong
Rose Marie Lee Wong, 87, of Vacaville, CA, died Friday, February 5, after a brief illness.
She was a woman of firsts. First-born in a family of seven children, she took her duties as eldest very seriously. She excelled in school, setting an example for her siblings. Growing up in Buffalo, New York during the depression in a small hand laundry in the ghetto, Rose set the standards for the Lee siblings who all obtained university educations and professional status.
Rose graduated from the University of Buffalo, School of Pharmacy in 1949. She became Buffalo’s first female hospital Chief of Pharmacy when she joined the staff at Deaconess Hospital, where she worked for twenty-five years.
In 1977 after a record Buffalo snowstorm kept Rose in the hospital, sleeping on the pharmacy’s floor for three days, she decided to move to sunny California. In 1979 she met and married Donald Wong of Vacaville, California, and he became her future traveling companion. Together they traveled the world, only missing Antarctica.
After working at North Bay Medical Center and VacaValley Hospital for twenty years as a Staff Pharmacist, Rose retired in 2010 and began another career as a dedicated volunteer with the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at UC Davis, the Vacaville Performing Arts Theater, and the Leisure Town Travel Club.
Throughout her years in Vacaville, Rose loved swimming in the community pool. She met her stalwart group of swimmers by 6 a.m., to do one-mile laps three times a week. Searching for a greater challenge, Rose joined a gym three years ago and met Phil Jamison, co-owner of Stone Core Ninja Fitness. He became her fitness trainer, mento,r and dear friend. Under his guidance, Rose set another life first. At the age of 86, she did a ten-minute plank and was learning to box!
Rose was not a traditional person of faith, but she lived an exemplary and generous moral life. She was outspoken, opinionated, and passionate in her beliefs. In 2011, Rose and Donald, aware of the lack of funding for music in the Solano County public schools, created the Donald and Rose Marie Wong Endowment Fund at the Solano Community Foundation. Rose was a benefactor to many organizations and individuals throughout her life.
Rose is survived by her husband Donald, stepson Gregory Wong and wife Debbie Fairbanks Wong of Fairfield, five siblings, and many nieces and nephews.
A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 1 p.m., at the McCune Garden Chapel, 212 Main Street Vacaville, CA.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the Solano Community Foundation’s Donald and Rose Marie Wong Endowment Fund, 744 Empire Street, Suite 240, Fairfield, CA 94533 (www.solanocf.org; tel. 707-399-3846). The endowment fund supports local music teachers and their programs and has allowed for the purchase and repair of instruments, sheet music, uniforms and accessories supporting Solano County schools and their students. The fund also provides small grants to local nonprofit music organizations for general operating support.