Francis Chew Kam Tom would have celebrated his 100th birthday on April 22, 2021. He had hoped to celebrate his milestone 100th birthday with family and friends. Francis passed away peacefully on March 14, 2020.
On March 30, 2020, Francis Chew Kam Tom, 98, was laid to rest at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. He and his wife, the late Arlene Kam Ngo Tom, are finally together. It was on this date, 70 years prior, that they were married, and together they will always be.
Francis was born April 22, 1921. He attended McKinley High School (Class of 1938) and the University of Hawaii. In 1945, Francis enlisted in the Army, spending his tour of duty in post-war Germany. He was honorably discharged in 1948. As part of the Chinese American WWII Veterans Recognition Project, Francis was recently awarded the Congregational Gold Medal in 2020, posthumously.
As a WWII Army veteran returning home to the islands, he found employment at the Pearl Harbor Shipyard as a sheet metal worker in Shop #17. Upon taking early retirement from Pearl Harbor, he then pursued his interests and operated many small businesses throughout Hawaii. Francis will be known to have done many "extraordinary" things, but he will be best remembered as that "friendly old man" running the famed Kapiolani Driving Range during the 1980s.
Francis always remained active, as an accomplished amateur boxer, as a student of Karate, to being a devoted Tai Chi practitioner. After achieving his brown belt in Karate, his interest turned to the slower and medicinal art of Tai Chi. Until his passing, Francis still practiced Tai Chi daily, while seated in his recliner or in bed.
He and Arlene loved to travel; they visited all the famous destinations around the world, but like many locals, he always had a soft spot for Las Vegas. He would make his annual treks to Las Vegas until he was 96, making certain to attend KENO tournaments. The family called him the "Keno Player Extraordinaire".
Francis was known as a collector of "artifacts, stuff, and junks." It was his passion to always find value and joy in everything he brought home from auctions and yard sales. His love of tinkering was probably his secret to longevity.
Francis is survived by children, Mona (Tommy), Susan, Doug (Audrey), and Gary (Shelley). Francis was adored by his 7 grandchildren, Kyle (Rezene), Kevin (Nikki), Minna (Arvin), Jeffrey (Melody), Tamir, Julie, and Sachi and 4 great-grandchildren.
To some, he was Francis, to others he was "Bulldog", but to all he was "Kung Kung".
Happy 100th Kung Kung!!
Arrangements Provided By: Nuuanu Memorial Park & Mortuary LLC