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DOWNEY – Dr. William “Bill” Wong, a longtime Downey resident and philanthropist who became a podiatrist after emigrating to the U.S. as a child, has died.
Funeral services are scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m. at Downey Zrelak Family Mortuary. Interment is Saturday at Forest Lawn in Glendale, starting at 11:15 a.m.
Wong was born April 12, 1930 in Canton, China. His baby sister died as an infant, leaving him an only child.
At the turn of the twentieth century, Wong’s father, Chang Hsueh Huey, came to the United States to work on the railroads in hopes for a better life. During this time, Chang became a U.S. citizen, paving the way for his son to migrate to America.
In 1952, at the age of 22, speaking very little English, Wong came to the U.S. Over the course of eight years he learned English and completed his undergraduate education.
He began medical school at the California College of Podiatric Medicine in San Francisco in 1960. He graduated in 1964, becoming board certified both in podiatric medicine and podiatric surgery.
Four years later, Wong met his future wife, Doreen Lee. They were married March 9, 1969 and settled in Downey.
Wong’s life changed in 1970 when he was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease. Despite the illness, Wong and his CPA wife became medical practice owners, property investors and formed a company with their close friends called Abacus Leasing Company.
In 1972, the couple’s first child, Donald, was born. Robert was born five years later.
Wong retired in 1988 after 23 years of practicing medicine.
In 2005, he and his wife created the William and Doreen Wong Foundation, establishing an endowment for a scholarship at the California College of Podiatric Medicine. The couple has also donated to USC’s Parkinson’s Disease Research Center, National Parkinson Foundation, the American Parkinson Disease Association and the Michael J. Fox Parkinson’s Foundation.
Wong is survived by his wife, Doreen; sons, Donald (Cristina) and Robert (Amy); and grandchildren Kai, Leilani, Kekoa and Belinda.
Published: June 27, 2013 – Volume 12 – Issue 11