Tai Yau Chung was a skinny 11-year-old fleeing war-torn China when he arrived in Hawaii in 1939, not knowing a word of English.
He was teased by his schoolmates and cousins as he struggled to learn a new language and way of life with his parents, his family said. But Chung, like many other immigrants, persevered and worked hard, eventually making a name for himself in business.
Chung, the retired president of Chung Insurance and Investment Group, died Oct. 23 at Kuakini Medical Center. He was 84.
Chung was the grandfather of Alana Dung, a 3-year-old girl who raised public awareness of leukemia before dying of the disease in 1997. Her mother, Adelia Dung, said her daughter “left a legacy of increasing the Hawaii Bone Marrow Registry by 30,788 donors and of leading others to have a second chance of life through the donor program.”
Chung, a 1948 graduate of Farrington High School, worked as regional director of the West Coast Life Insurance Co. agency in Honolulu. He was former president of the General Agents and Managers Association, and held a number of memberships in professional and community organizations, among them president and emeritus director of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce.