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SETO, Fong

December 3, 1933 – Hoi Ping, China
May 21, 2018 – Calgary, Alberta

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Fong Seto, beloved husband of Norma. At the time of his death, he was surrounded by his family at home. Fong was a wonderful husband, a caring father, and a loving grandfather. He was a proud Calgarian and a successful businessman. Family and friendship were his cornerstones, as were his kindness and generosity.

Fong was born on December 3, 1933 in a little village near Hoi Ping, China. He grew up in China much like his village peers, seeing their fathers occasionally, as they were working and living modestly in “Golden Mountain” as Canada was called, sending their hard earned money back home to support their families. Fong lost his mother at age 6, remained in the village with his uncle’s family and attended school. Most of his teen years were spent fleeing the Japanese invasion and the expansion of communism in China. Eventually he ended up in Hong Kong. With the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act in Canada, his father Harry was able to reunite his family in Golden Mountain.

Fong and his siblings arrived on the Calgary scene in 1950 where he attended the historical Haultain School and Western High School. While at Western, he was lucky enough to drive to school daily in a new car, but his father purchased the wheels so Fong could rush back to Harry’s Cafe and work the noon hour lunch rush before heading back to afternoon classes.

In 1955, Fong returned back to Hong Kong for a visit and it was there that he met and fell in love with his wife of over 61 years, Norma. They wed in 1956 and returned to Calgary to start a family. Together they had four children, changing houses in Southwest Calgary as the bedroom demand increased. As parents, education was paramount, and he and Norma ensured all their children finished high school and graduated from university.

Fong was an entrepreneur and successful businessman. He learnt the restaurant trade with his father operating Harry’s Cafe. After his father passed, he went on to open a number of popular Calgary restaurants, including the Oriental Gardens, The Dynasty and The Three Greenhorns with family and partners. He still managed to find time to invest and develop real estate as well. Eventually, the oil patch caught his eye and he started Big D Rentals, an oilfield services company with his partners in 1979. The company grew to be a significant player in Western Canada. Later on, the Big D Partners started Inter-Tech and listed the company on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The company provided technology services and equipment that was utilized by oil companies in Europe, South America and Asia. By 1997, Fong had retired, divesting his businesses and pursuing his new passion, golf.

Throughout his life, Fong gave back to industry and the community. He was a past Director of the Calgary Tourist and Convention Bureau, past Director and Life Member of Heritage Park, and the former President of the Calgary Chapter of the Canadian Restaurant Association. As an oilman, he participated in many oilfield industry and social events. Fong was a 34-year Calgary Stampede Volunteer on the Reception Committee. He also spent many years and became a Life Member on the Stampede Grey Cup Committee, flipping pancakes across Canada at all the host cities. He was the Treasurer of the Sien Lok Society, which was formed to preserve Chinatown as it battled City Hall to prevent the construction of a freeway along the Bow River. Fong was the second oldest member of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs in Calgary, a gastronomic society promoting fine dining and the art of the table, as well as a member of L’Ordre Mondial des Gourmets Dégustatuers.

Throughout his life, Fong amassed many great friendships from industry and in his volunteer work. He was always known for his smile, his kindness and his generosity. He always enjoyed everyone’s company, whether it was a chance meeting, over a drink, at a dinner, on the links or during one of his many trips.

His love of golf, culinary arts and family were often his excuses to travel. Fong traveled to all four corners and all 7 continents of the globe. He has teed off in the shadows of the Great Pyramids; enjoyed a nice red with a foie gras brulee at a Chaine dinner at the Burj Al Arab; sipped coffee in the control room of the High Island IX jack up rig drilling in the Bay of Fundy and counted elephants on the banks with his grandkids as they drifted down the Chobe River.
Fong loved his grandkids and spent time attending their school events, soccer, hockey, volleyball, basketball and football games, as well as numerous dance competitions and plays.

Fong is predeceased by his brothers Kwong and Ben and his niece Gracie. He is survived by his wife Norma of 61 years; his son Richard and his wife Nora along with their children, Kathleen, Erin, Connor and Sean; his daughter Judy; his daughter Julia and her partner Paul; and his daughter Jocelyn and her husband Bruce and their son Xander. Fong is also survived by his younger sister Ruth and her husband Norman and many nephews and nieces.
The Family would like to thank the medical teams at the Tom Baker Cancer Clinic, led by Dr. D Morris, Dr. G Lim, Dr. P De Robles, as well as the care of Dr. A Bergh, Dr. S Ross and Dr. J Arlette. In addition, a very special thank you to Dr. A Alfieri of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center in New York City and brother-in-law John Tse. Together, they gave Fong the best treatment possible, as Fong battled his cancer.

We are also grateful for the care of the Alberta Health Services Palliative Home Care Team and Aspen Safeway Pharmacy Team.

In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes may be made directly to the Fong & Norma Seto Family Fund at the Calgary Foundation, 1180 – 105 12 Avenue SE Calgary, AB T2G 1A1 Telephone: (403) 802-7700, https://payment.csfm.com/donations/calgaryfoundation/?fund=SETOF. The endowment will be used to support charities and projects in the Greater Calgary Region.

Those wishing to pay their respects may do so at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY (Park Memorial) on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. and Wednesday, May 30, 2018 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Relatives and friends are invited to Prayers and Tributes at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY (Park Memorial) on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.

Funeral Services will be held at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY (Park Memorial, 5008 Elbow Drive S.W. Calgary, AB) on Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. Reception to follow at Pinebrook Golf & Country Club, 166 Pinebrook Way SW, Calgary, AB T3Z 3K3. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com.

In living memory of Fong Seto, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY.

Offer Condolence for the family of SETO, Fong

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Condolence Messages

  1. Emily and Tom Gee :

    Our sincerest condolences to you Norma and family on the loss of your husband and father.

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  2. Emily and Tom Gee :

    Our deepest sympathy to you Ruth on the loss of your brother Fong, sincerely Emily and Tom Gee and family.

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  3. Arianna Johnson :

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Norma and the family. Some of my favourite childhood memories are of Sunday mornings spent at the silver dragon with Fong. Thinking of all of you.
    Arianna (Scott) Johnson

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  4. Carla Christie Hamilton :

    Thinking of you all at this very sad time, as you grieve the loss of such a wonderful human being. Sending you lots of hugs, love and prayers.

    Carla, Bruce, Christie and Brendan Hamilton

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  5. Joe Scorgie :

    So sorry for your loss. I will miss Fong at all of our Chaine dinners. He was a great mentor for younger members and I will always remember his big smile whenever he shook my hand!

    Joe Scorgie

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  6. John Henry Windle :

    Our prayers are with you all during this difficult time. Fong will be missed by a great many people,especially those who were lucky enough to call him a friend.

    John & Suzanne Windle and Family

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  7. Roger Scrimshaw :

    I was fortunate to have known Fong and the Seto family both in my formative years and beyond. He was a very loving and gentle man. It was my honour to have known him.

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  8. Bonita Ducharme :

    Norma and family, I just heard the sad news. My heart breaks for all of you. I loved Fong and will always remember the friendship he had with Troy. But also precious memories of the laughter we had together as friends. Please know I care and send condolences to everyone I’m the family. Much love, Bonnie

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  9. Hilda & Mike Kinakin :

    Norma,

    Please accept our sincere condolences for your loss.

    Hilda & Mike Kinakin

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  10. Don Medhurst and family :

    Dear Mrs. Norma Seto and all of the Seto families ,
    We are all deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Fong . Our family has such fond memories of Fong and Ben and their dad Harry and their families over the years . Like his father and his brother Ben, Fong was so kind and a true gentleman . They loved their families and they always treated their friends as family . We are so sorry for your loss . May the wonderful memories of Fong be of great comfort during this difficult time . With sincere sympathy, Don Medhurst ( Audree) and families

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  11. Ralph Trenke :

    Will cherish our memories of Fong. Always enjoyed seeing him at Chaine dinners and at many of our family and company celebrations. Especially during Stampede when he often referred to himself as the “Hong Kong Cowboy”. Was a very dear friend of my father and mother and had travelled together through Europe. Our sincere condolences to the entire Seto family.

    Ralph and Genevieve Trenke

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  12. Claudia Trenke :

    Dear Mrs. Seto and Family,
    I am sorry to hear of the passing of our friend Fong. He will be dearly missed by all who knew him. I have many fond memories of him over the years when our families came together to celebrate various occasions… usually involving good food and fun! I know my parents really enjoyed their travels and celebrations with Fong and Norma over the years. Hugs to all of you,
    Claudia Trenke and family

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  13. Reid Hansen :

    Richard and Family, Char’s and my thoughts and prayers are with you!

    Fong will be missed.
    He helped me and taught me throughout my life in so many ways. I respected him at a level very few people have reached, or will reach. A great man.
    God Bless!

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  14. Eleana Palumbo :

    Sending to Seto Family our deepest condolences. Sending prayers and strength to Richard, Nora and family.
    Love Palumbo family

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  15. Juergen Bahr :

    All our most sincere condolences to Norma and the Fong Family. We have only wonderful memories of Fong, as a friend of our family, as a mentor in the Chaine des Rotisseurs and as a fellow confriere who in his quiet and unasuming way influenced and supported the Chaine in a caring and powerful way.
    Our most heartfelt wishes to the Fong family in this time of sadness.
    Juergen and Sandra.

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  16. Don & Doreen Warren :

    Norma

    Our deepest sympathy to you and your family in the passing of Fong. We remember fondly the wonderful time we had with you and Fong on our many golf trips to far away places. Don particularly enjoyed the weekly luncheon meetings and will miss Fong very much at these get togethers. Sincerely, Don and Doreen Warren

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  17. Aunty Norma
    Our deepest sympathy and condolences to you and your family when we heard uncle Fong pass away.
    I remember we so much good time when we were working together. We’ll miss him. in the mean time. You got to take care of yourself. I’ll not be able to attend the funeral because I’m not well. I feel very bad. Sorry
    Sincerely Willie and Virginia
    26/May/2018

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  18. Jack Juke and Juke Family :

    Sympathy condolences to fong family ! Sorry to hear about my friend fong seto pass away! Rest and peace !

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  19. Donna Traub :

    Dear Norma I am sorry read of Fongs passing. Both you and Fong were very good to Gordon, me and our family when we moved back to Calgary in the early severties. Gord appreciated Fongs friendship at that time. Gordon passed away in 2005, and I have remarried and live in LaCaille downtown.
    My sincere sympathy to you and your family.
    Donna Traub

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  20. Edward and Sylvia Szeto :

    Sorry to hear the sad news of Uncle Fong passed away. Our deepest condolences to his family. I am very much remember he invited me to golf game many years ago. He is very generous. Uncle Fong is one of the great founder of the SETO’S Association of Calgary with big contribution in the earlier eighty. We all respect him and missed him. Edward and Sylvia Szeto

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  21. Dennis Shute :

    So sorry for your loss, Fong was a wonderful person and will be greatly missed. Please accept my condolences and my thoughts and prayers are with you.

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  22. Kurt and Jo-Anne Amsler :

    Dear Norma,
    We are so sorry for your loss. We had a lot of great times with you and Fong. We have all lost a dear friend. We are thinking of you and our thoughts and prayers are with you.
    We are sorry that we can’t be there in person because of health reasons.

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  23. Karen Anderson :

    Sending love to carry all our dear Seto family through the loss of YeYe Fong from Karen Todd and Cole

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  24. TRISH CLARK :

    Sending much love to the Seto family. Your husband/dad/grandpa has an amazing story and life. Thinking of you guys as you struggle through the tears of pain to remember him with tears of joy. Much Love, Trish, Sal, Rees and Eliot xoxo

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  25. The Wild Family :

    Our condolences to the Seto family. He was a generous and welcoming man. He will be missed. The Wild Family

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  26. May Pringle :

    Dear Norma and Family,
    I am sorry to hear of Fong’s passing. My love and thoughts are with you.
    May Pringle

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  27. J & N Haley :

    Dear Mrs. Seto and family,
    Our condolences on the passing of Mr. Seto. You have our deepest sympathies and prayers at this most difficult time.

    Jondean & Nidal Haley

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  28. Kim McGregor :

    Norma and Family,

    I am so sorry for your loss. It was a great pleasure to have volunteered with Fong for over 30 years with Calgary Grey Cup Committee and the Calgary Stampede Board Reception Committee. He will be missed by so many of us.

    Sincerely,
    Kim McGregor

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  29. Joseph and Marisa De Angelis :

    Our sincerest condolences to Norma and family on the loss of Fong. It was always a great pleasure to spend time with him at Chaine dinners and at many other special occasions. He will be greatly missed.

    Joseph and Marisa De Angelis

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  30. Karin Steiner :

    Dear Norma, my deepest condolences to you and your family.

    Karin Steiner

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  31. Kevin and Jackie Gruber :

    Richard, Nora and Family,

    Our sincere condolences on the loss of your father and grandfather. He touched the lives of so many. Wishing you peace and comfort through sharing happy memories.

    Kevin and Jackie Gruber

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  32. Maggies Schofield :

    To Richard and Family,
    Please accept my sincere sympathies. Having volunteered with Fong for my nearly all of my Stampede experience, I can attest to the fact he was a hard worker, and always had a big smile. You could tell he enjoyed his work, and the people he worked with. I was honoured to have worked alongside him and I will sure miss him. He was a true gentleman.
    Take care.
    Maggie Schofield

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  33. Lynn Meadows (Hohenwarter) :

    Dear Norma and Family, My deepest sympathy to you at this difficult time. It is so very hard when someone you have known for 60+ years or all of your life dies. May you find comfort in the love of family and friends, warm memories and your faith. I knew Fong in only a few contexts. It was a joy to read the obituary and see the amazing accomplishments of Fong in so many venues and actions.
    I’ll hold you in my thoughts. Lynn Meadows

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  34. Cam & Marie Sondergaard :

    Dear Richard, Nora & the Seto Family, Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. Fong truly set an amazing example for all of us of what giving to others truly is. He will be missed.

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  35. Kelly, Richard and Isabel Hogan :

    We are so very sad to hear of Fong’s passing. Our family is thinking of the Richard Seto and the entire Seto clan at this difficult time.

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  36. Troy Winchester :

    I have just heard of Fong’s passing. this saddens me deeply. Fong was my landlord as I leased the building which Harry’s Cafe was in. Fong was a pleasure to deal with and always had a smile on his face. It’s a big loss not only for his family and friends its a big loss for Calgary.

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