On Wednesday evening, November 30, 2022, Raymond Leong went home to be with the Lord. He passed peacefully after receiving many heartfelt goodbyes from friends and family. Born on October 7, 1934, Raymond spent his early childhood in a fishing village in southern China, eventually moving to the port city of Macau. The first-born son of Lee Tai and Chow Sue Chong, Raymond is survived by his brother George, his sister-in-law, Anna, his nieces Debbie, Amy and Michelle, his son David, his daughter-in-law Cha, his son Ivan, his daughter-in-law Teresa, and three grandchildren – Karinna, Jeremy and Jack.
As a young teenager, Raymond immigrated to America to help his father run a family-owned grocery store in Santa Barbara. After high school, he served in America’s Cold War nuclear deterrence effort with the United States Air Force. Upon completing military service, Raymond enrolled in college where he was invited to a Bible study organized by retired China missionary, Ruth Hitchcock. Raymond accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and served faithfully and steadfastly for the remainder of his life. While in school, he met the love of his life, Jen Woo. Soon afterwards, Raymond began a 25 year career at Crocker National Bank, running the operations department at their main branch in downtown Santa Barbara.
Raymond and Jen were married 40 years and always remained active in their local church community. They encouraged immigrants to join in church fellowship and frequently gave support to students, faculty members, entrepreneurs, and small business owners. Raymond was highly committed and actively involved in raising his sons. No one could have asked for a better father than Raymond Leong. After his wife’s passing, Raymond was embraced and cared for by his immediate relatives and his church family. He lived a peaceful retirement spending many hours gardening and caring for his beloved birds, koi fish, and dogs. He loved spending time with his grandchildren, sharing with them his love of animals and plants and cheering on their academic, athletic and musical pursuits.
We wish to celebrate and remember Raymond’s life with a memorial service on Monday, December 19, 11:30am at Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapels, 15 E. Sola Street, downtown Santa Barbara. The memorial will conclude with a graveside service at Santa Barbara Cemetery, 901 Channel Drive, at 1:15pm. Prior to the service, visitors may pay their respects on Friday December 16 from 9am to noon at Welch-Ryce-Haider.
Those wishing to donate flowers for the service can contact Kaleidoscope Flowers, 805-962-0032. However, we ask that in lieu of flowers, friends might consider donating to the Chinese Evangelical Free Church Benevolence Fund (cefcsb.org), 15 W Calle Crespis, in memory of Raymond.