Bella grew up in Watertown (which is now Hickam Air Force Base) and Damon Tract. She attended various public elementary schools and 'Aiea Intermediate. She was a proud graduate of Farrington High School, c/o 1946, and attended their reunions yearly. Bella attended Honolulu Business College and Cannon Business School and obtained a Secretarial certificate.
She was employed at the Hawaiian Ordinance Depot in Ft. Shafter as a clerk-typist in 1947 and later transferred to Hickman Air Force Base. During this time she was promoted to conduct staff visits throughout Hickam, Bellows, and Wheeler Air Force Base. This job allowed her to visit Korea on Staff Visits on the demilitarized zone. After 42 years of service, she retired as a GS-7 at HQ Pacific Air Forces, Hickam as a Technical Aircraft Librarian.
In 1953, she married the love of her life, Leo Chong. They were engaged for two years before they married. He gave her a dozen red roses every week and treated her like a queen. Leo allowed Bella to be her own unique self. He had a kind, giving, loving heart that supported her ideas and creativity. They did everything together, dance, sing, travel (especially to Las Vegas), shop, etc. Bella was thankful for his love, patience, and strength. They were married for 63 happy years until he passed away in 2016.
Bella was an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary from 1934, when her father first enrolled her at the age of 9. From 1990-1991 she was Department of Hawai'i President. Then, from 1991-1992 she was the National Executive Committeewoman, that allowed her to visit Indiana, Arizona, Chicago, and Washington D.C. She held many chairmanships. Her favorite committees were Community Service, Poppy, and Junior Activities. She was a valuable member for 84 years. Bella loved being a member of this great organization. She will be missed.
After retirement in 1990, she decided to work at Kalihi Kai Elementary School in the Administrative office. They were able to catch-up and complete their paperwork with her help. She then volunteered at the State Capitol to serve the Senators. Bella enjoyed this job and learned much about government and politics. She gave her opinion verbally and in writing. One of her passions was to keep abreast of issues that were affecting Hawai'i and to comment on them.
Her greatest enjoyment was when she volunteered at the Lanakila Senior Center as a leader of the Folk Sing along to entertain at Hospitals, Care facilities and Nursing Homes. Bella loved to sing, dance, and perform. To quote Bella, "It is so wonderful knowing that by doing this, brings smiles and happiness to those that are sick, sad and lonely. I thank the Lord for giving me strength in order to perform these tasks."
Isabella lived her life to the fullest, loved by many and appreciated by all she touched. She was a vibrant and beautiful individual. Her infectious smile and cheerful personality were contagious to everyone she encountered. She embodied the "Aloha Spirit" and spread it wherever she went. She wore a flower in her hair every day. This was her trademark. Depending on the occasion she also wore a brimmed hat with a lei po'o. You would know she was in the room by her presence. Her signature dance move was to move up and down low while dancing and singing, 'It must be jelly cause jam doesn't shake like that.' She will forever be loved and remembered in our hearts.
Bella was preceded in death by her husband Leo of 64 years, her parents, 3 sisters and 2 brothers. She is survived by her sister Eleanor, brother Edworth, numerous nieces, nephews, and many godchildren. She treated them as if they were her own. She leaves behind her extended family and beloved friends.
Aloha and Shalom Isabella! Goodbye and Farewell!
You are Forever in our Hearts!
A Celebration of Life will be held on February 28, 2022
Hawaiian Memorial Park, 45-425 Kamehameha Hwy, Kane'ohe Visitation: 9:00 a.m.; Services: 10:30 a.m.
Burial:1:00 p.m. at the Hawai'i State Veterans Cemetery
All COVID guidelines will be followed: Mandatory face Masks MUST be worn, social distancing and vaccination card is required or testing results.