LUCY MA FONG, MD
July 10, 1912-September 10, 2010
Lucy Ma Fong was determined at an early age to excel beyond her small-town roots and persevered to become a pioneer in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology both in China and the United States.
Born July 10, 1912 in a small, rural Chinese farming village outside of Beijing, she was one of the rare girls who attended school, a privilege she didn’t take for granted.
She consistently pushed herself in academics with great discipline and ambition, which led to scholarships and awards that carried her through her academic career during a period of civil unrest and the Japanese invasion of China.
Undeterred by outside obstacles, she graduated the top scholar of her class at a foremost Beijing missionary high school, where she also was captain of the basketball team at a time when women typically took on subordinate roles in the community.
Lucy continued to focus on medical studies and graduated from Cheeloo University Medical School in 1934. By that time, she had taken care of dozens of patients who praised her for her excellent service, compassion and caring spirit.
This passion and dedication was recognized by Dr. Frances Ledbeater, an American woman physician and chief of OBGYN, who sponsored the completion of her specialty training in New York City.
She arrived in Seattle, Wash. on Christmas Eve in 1940 before heading to New York , a monumentous occasion and dream come true for the ambitious small-town girl.
“Not one day did I ever regret it,” she once said of her move to the United States.
It was no easy feat breaking through glass ceilings for a woman of Chinese ancestry who barely spoke English, but Lucy completed her specialty training in 1943 at the famed Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital, Jersey City Medical Center, the busiest maternity hospital in the U.S. at the time, with more than 5,000 deliveries per year.
Her remarkable character attracted the attention of Dr. K.S. Fong, whom she married in 1944. They had a daughter and son shortly thereafter, all while she juggled a fledgling medical career.
In 1946, the family moved to Hawaii, where she became the first Chinese woman physician to be licensed in the state. She later built a large successful medical practice and was recognized by colleagues and patients as one of the top gynecologists, delivering more babies alone then some of the major hospitals in town.
Lucy would not let anything get in her way when she was called to duty, building a reputation as one of the most dedicated and passionate doctors of her time.
Neither policemen, red lights nor speed limits would stop her in the middle of the night as she raced to make it to a delivery. She viewed it as a privilege and gift to be doctor, graciously working seven days a week.
Friends often describe her dynamic personality as one that could never be forgotten.
She retired from her successful medical practice in 1980.
Lucy died peacefully surrounded by family on Sept. 10, after a life devoted to her patients and honoring the privilege of being a physician.
“I loved my patients,” she once said. “Being a doctor is the best job in the world.”
She leaves behind a son, Dr. Frederick Fong; and daughter, Mrs. Frances Wong; and four grandchildren, Tracy, Michael, Christopher and Nicole.
Funeral services will be held on Nov. 6 at Diamond Head Memorial Park. Visitation at 10:00 am and service at 11:00.