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CHOW – Henry Chee Ying

December 12, 1930 – May 1, 2010

Henry Chow of Calgary passed away on May 1, 2010 at the age of 79 years.

Henry is survived by his son Ray Chow of Edmonton, AB his daughter Cynthia (Roger) Chan of Calgary, AB, grand-daughters Megan and Gillian Chan of Calgary, AB. Henry is also survived by his brothers Tony (Jean), Ming (Angela), Ping (Connie) Chow; sister Jean (Johnny) Wong, sister-in-law Shirley and brother-in-law Tom (Tara) Mark as well as numerous nieces and nephews, Grand nieces and grand nephews in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Medicine Hat. He is also survived by his stepmother Wong, Mui Fong.

Henry was predeceased by his loving wife Sophia Chow in 2007, brother King in 2008, and his parents Chow, Kam Pui and Duan, Choy Gin.

Those wishing to pay their respects may do so at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY’S Chapel of the Bells (2720 Centre Street North) on Sunday, May 9, 2010 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Funeral Services will be Celebrated at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY’S, Chapel of the Bells (2720 Centre Street North) on Monday May 10, 2010 at 1:00 p.m.  Graveside Service to follow at Queen’s Park Cemetery.  Forward condolences through If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to the Alberta Cancer Foundation, Provincial Office, Sun Life Place, 710, 10123 – 99th Street, Edmonton, AB T5J 3H1 Telephone: 1(866) 412-4222. The family would like to thank Dr. Grace Le and Nurses Jacqui Pinto, Cheryl Swaby, Brenda Hillis, Narinda Brar and the Home Care Team.

In living memory of Henry Chow a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Chapel of the Bells, 2720 CENTRE STREET NORTH Telephone: (403) 276-2296.

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Condolence Messages

  1. brenda baron :

    My most sincere sympathy in your loss.
    There are many people thinking of you at this difficult time.

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  2. Dear Cynthia & Ray,

    There are just not enough words to describe the memories that have been flooding through my mind this week regarding your Father’s presence.

    The on pouring of beautiful memories has stirred up wonderful moments of laughter & play at your childhood home for me. Vivid images of your Father & others such as Chu Chau in the kitchen, brings back very clear aromas of the Ming Tree restaurant, where they were chopping up tons of food for those smorgaboards, the cutting & prepping of all that food, oh me, oh my!

    Tears of sadness fill my heart as I recall how gracefully & quietly your Father worked his art in that kitchen. I make wonderful wonton soup because of your Father! He taught me how to make those wontons properly, how to use a cleaver, and he let me & my brothers play in the batter, by giving us a small potful to do to our heart’s content.

    Your Father never saw us kids as a disruption of his day whenever we had to spend hours on end in the restaurant. He flirted and played with us all, teasing us with those wonderful eyes! I was one of the lucky ones that got to go behind the hot stoves to watch them action.

    I remember being disappointed when we would arrive late in the night, because your Father would be gone, but then I knew the next morning Mom would take us kids to kitchen & there would be a good meal awaiting everyone & your Father always there without fail.

    Sipping all that soup with your Dad & Chu Chau, listening to them in Chinese, watching their joyful laughs, all while sitting at the end of that chopping block, as they threw bits of meats & veggies into our bowls. Those two were such a good team together, oh so much fun with those two! 🙂

    We have fond memories of feasting at the downstairs staff table with all of you, as you came & ate and all the kids & parents would cycle through for their meals.

    Best of all, we will forever remember those countless authentic Chinese Banquets and all that wonderful food. Now that we are older and I have had to opportunity to travel to China twice with my own Father to the villages of our families, read plenty of books on our cultural background & history, and so forth, I can tell you that we are all blessed to be have been given the opportunity to grow up in such a beautiful culture.

    We are very fortunate to be living here in Canada & most of us kids have no idea how difficult of a journey it was for our parents & grandparents to come to Canada. The responsibility of the older siblings making sure they could all get here & have work to survive. They did what they knew best, the restaurant business & through the restaurant business they were able to provide the work & money & the dream in bringing their families together.

    My Father showed us what life was like back in China and the migration to Hong Kong from their villages. He explained to me how the clans struggled to develop stamina & perseverance in harsh conditions in making a better life for themselves in Canada.

    I spent my first trip crying and being overwhelmed at the reality of how our Father & our parents grew up in China, as I learned the truth about the revolution, communism, and was blessed to be able to bike to several villages to see first hand where many of the families are from & how they lived back then and although many years have come to pass, the heart of the villages remain in time, as if one never left the village.

    There is of course, new development around the outskirts of the villages, but the villages themselves remain the same. You can see the local temples & homes of our parents and grandparents, as they are still standing today, most of them untouched by development & still occupied by local family descendants.

    My Father wasn’t able to take me everywhere due to his diabetes, but there is a childhood friend of Dad’s (from the age of 8) who was able to take me by bike to some of the most remote areas deep inside the village, the Chow Temple near your Dad’s family home was one of them.

    I spent hours on end over the next 6 weeks at our Father’s temple in the village. Your Father’s family lived in the same village area that shares the Chow Temple that goes back several generations, and hopefully one day you will be able to go back and see your ancestors history & your Father’s family name in that temple.

    All the Chow’s from that village are listed in the temples on ceramic tile by family & so forth. On my next visit to China I will honor your Father by visiting the village temple & burning incense. The incense is always burning in the temple, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is maintained by the elders of the village every day. Once incense is lit, it will never ever burn out, because of the dedication of the elders.

    Your Father spent a lot of time in the local village with his family, while Uncle King spent time in the area of Canton (Guangzhou) for his education of junior & senior high school years & the younger siblings have memories of their time in Hong Kong growing up and going to school there.

    I was blessed to speak to Uncle King about his childhood in China, much of it he had forgotten & many memories that brought a sparkle to his eyes when he spoke to me about them, but he was so proud that I had taken an interest in working on the background and history of their journey from China, Hong Kong to Canada.

    I did not get the opportunity to show him the photos of the area before his passing. I have also spoken to Uncle Ming about his memories, they are all of Hong Kong. After Uncle King’s service, I spoke briefly to Uncle Tony about my journey back to China & the village, and he said to me that I was brave to go back and live in the village.

    After all these years, he told me that he would not be able to travel back to live in the village for such a visit after years of being accustomed to life in Canada & with tearful eyes, he explained to me that he would go love to go back to visit from the City (Guangzhou) to see the area.

    He commended me on my journey to the village & was shocked to learn that I had managed to stay for 6 weeks living the rough conditions as the locals do in the village. There are no hotels near by, so if one visits you either live with the locals or you go for a day trip from the city. This was a dream come true for me to be able to go back with my own Father & see the village.

    I do not want to wait to learn about our parents history, as time is just too short. Like our parents did for us, we need to continue onward with the dreams of passing on the history & culture of our families. I am documenting all the tidbits of information that I have learned from everyone & will share them all eventually.

    Our parents did a wonderful job with having those beautiful banquets of authentic Chinese cuisine and celebrating every Chinese holiday for all those special occasions over the years.

    I even remember getting to listen to an authentic Chinese orchestra with very unique instruments, and listening to Chinese opera, all at the Ming Tree. The fun times of running around with all you as kids, as we entertained ourselves at these joyful events are treasures that will never be forgotten.

    We are so blessed to have experience of this in our childhood, as when I speak to other Canadian Chinese, they did not do the things we did with our families. I think our parents were able to provide this for us because of their restaurants & because of the fact, that they continued to live a traditional Chinese custom with their own parents here in Canada.

    They continued to bring their families closer with continual immigration of their clans from one generation to the next, until everyone was here, they never let their true purpose for success & a better life escape from their dreams of giving us, the younger generation the opportunity of a great life!

    Your Father played an important & crucial role of dynamics of what makes every restaurant a success, he was the one who truly cared, had the passion and love for what he did all those years in the kitchen. His cooking was what kept the regulars coming back & his role in the team of the family clan was the most important role, without his food there would be no Ming Tree.

    The family heritage has brought to the City of Medicine Hat & Lethbridge a high standard of authentic Cantonese cuisine that others will continually strive for forever.

    Your Father will be deeply missed by all of you and us. May you all be able to cherish his wonderful energy & spirit and know in your hearts that your Father and his family has made history & changed the way we all enjoy food, by feeding the Hearts & Souls of all of us.

    Most importantly that the grandchildren will all be able to have a life of good fortune because of their Grandparents & Great Grandparents, who saw a dream to succeed by coming to Canada and making the ultimate dream become a reality. We are all so blessed to have been part of the journey, may you treasure their hard work & honor their love for you in many successful years to come.

    Lots of Love & Light,

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  3. Jean W. Beatch :

    My condolences to the family of Henry Chow. I worked with Henry (and Sophia) in Medicine Hat for years at the Canada Cafe. Henry was a great cook and friend. He will be missed.

    -Jean Beatch, Medicine Hat.

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