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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Jimmy Hong member of family who gave chosen community a "warm and unforgettable example of the true Canadian spirit"

Boo, Mrs Hong, Jean, Jim, Yen
For about 100 years in the history of Chapleau, Fong Hong, his wife Sue, affectionately called "Ma" and their family have been associated with business in the community headed since about 1960 by Jimmy Hong.

It all began when Fong Hong arrived in the village circa 1916, and started Hong's Laundry which he closed and in 1924 opened the restaurant which to my generation was called the Boston Cafe. After Fong Hong died in 1940, Mrs. Hong continued to operate the restaurant and raised their four children: Yen, Jean, Jimmy and Harry (Boo).


Jimmy who had graduated from Chapleau High School, attended Ryerson and returned home to help his mother and took over the management of the restaurant in 1960. In due course, it was totally renovated and emerged with a new name -- the Redwood and Hongrs. He was actively involved in the Chapleau business community for most of his life. Growing up he helped out in the restaurant with his sister and brothers.
Fong Hong

When Jimmy died on April 1 at age 79, it marked the end of an era in the community's history even though he had retired within the past two years. His brother Yen, who had built the Bridgeview Motel retired in 2009, while sister Jean, a retired nurse lives in Toronto and Harry died some years ago.
Jean, Jim Yen 2012

I have such fond memories of  growing up with the Boston being our central place as kids where we went to hang out and to play as well.

Although Boo was more my age, Jimmy would often join us upstairs above the restaurant, and the late Harry 'Butch' Pellow recalled one anecdote in which I was involved the day Jimmy gave us boxing lessons. 

Butch noted that Jimmy had boxing gloves, and when it came time for my lesson I was "whacked in the face and called it a day." 

Jim and I in deep hockey discussion. He won!!!!

So much for boxing but Jimmy and I remained friends and I had good good visits with him at the Chapleau High School reunion in 2012, at a party in Toronto at Butch and Brigitte's in 2014 and in Chapleau when he made the Redwood our headquarters for the launch of The Chapleau Boys Go To War which I co-wrote with Michael McMullen in 2015.

Jimmy and all the Hong family were involved sports and Butch recalled in an article called GO BOSTON that he was "A powerful steady and fast skater and great stick handler". 
Jim and Butch 2014

After reading a piece by Lillian (Donivan) Therriault about the family  in Chapleau Trails, edited by Dr. William R. `Bill`Pellow, a member of another Chapleau pioneer family I  recalled one hockey anecdote in which Jimmy was involved.




2 comments:

CranBerry said...

Touched my heart reading the fond memories you have of my Grandfather (Jimmy)
I shall be sure to cruise the rest of your blog site for more hidden gems!

Michael J Morris said...

There are several stor ies about your family on the blog. Click on search blog.. thanks for posting. Your grandfather was my good friend as were your uncles and aunt

Michael J Morris

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