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Samuel Fong

1923 - 2013, Castro Valley; formerly of Goleta

The family of Samuel Fong honors his memory on this first anniversary of his death, July 19, 2014. Sam was born in Goleta in 1923 and raised on a ten-acre farm his parents purchased in 1911 after moving here from Lompoc. The farm was located on what is today the San Marcos High School campus, just miles from what would become UCSB and the Goleta Airport. Sam developed an early fascination with flight and would run outside whenever he heard a plane just to see it overhead. During WWII Sam’s interest culminated in piloting fifty missions in a B-24, named the “Old Dutch Cleanser,” while stationed at Panatella Air Base in Italy.

With the GI Bill he completed his Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from Caltech in Pasadena and in 1950 moved to Sacramento to take a job and begin married life with Alice. Sam’s work in the Department of Water Resources included the mechanical design aspects of pumping water to Southern California which took him to the USSR and Switzerland but mostly to Bakersfield’s Tehachapi plant. Sam enjoyed his orchard, fishing, bowling, RV-ing, Alice’s art projects, and visiting the new Fong Family “home place” on Modoc Road, established in the early 1950s.

In his final years he and Alice were welcomed into the Baywood Court senior community in Castro Valley where Sam enjoyed making new friends, many of whom were also veterans. Toward the end of his life Sam often reflected on how lucky he had been.

The last of eight children, Sam was predeceased by siblings Ben, Joy, Ed, Harry, Rose, Pete, and Florence. His wife, Alice, and daughter, Colleen and her family reside in the Bay Area and may be contacted at ​samsobit@gmail.com

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