Allan Fung says his late father 'epitomized American dream'

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Cranston Mayor Allan Fung’s father, Kwong-Wen Fung, died over the weekend at 89 years old due to complications from Parkinson’s disease, which Mayor Fung said he’s had a “long battle with.” 

Fung said that the whole family, consisting of his mom, Tan Ping, and two younger sisters, Anna and Arlene, were able to spend time with his father last week and they were “very thankful that he passed away peacefully.”

Fung said that his father’s battle with Parkinson’s began a long while ago, but over the past two years it’s gotten much worse and he was in and out of the hospital.  For the past year and a half, he had been staying at The Cedars Nursing Home in Western Cranston, where Fung said he was given excellent care.

“We can’t thank them enough,” he said about his father’s stay at the nursing home, which the Mayor would visit almost every day.

Looking back at his father’s life, Fung said that Kwong-Wen, who moved with his wife from the Guangdong Province of China to Rhode Island in 1969, epitomized the American dream.

“He came to this country in search of a better life,” he said.  “I’m so proud of what they did back in 1969 taking those first steps [moving from China to America].  I could never imagine doing what they did leaving all their family, friends, and resources behind and going to a new country when they didn’t know a word of English.”

Fung’s parents first lived in Providence then moved with the children to Cranston, where they opened a Chinese restaurant, Kong Wen Restaurant, on Cranston Street.

“What a great American dream story,” Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian said about the Fung family’s background.  “Opening up a restaurant and moving their kids out of Providence and into the suburbs.”

Avedisian pointed out that the Fungs got to watch their eldest child get elected as the first Asian-American mayor in Rhode Island, which Fung said sticks out as one of the proudest moments for his parents he can remember.

“The proudest moment I’ll have etched in my mind is when I first got elected in ’08 as Mayor and then sworn in ’09,” Fung said.  “I still have this photo with both my parents where they were able to hold the Bible as I got sworn in.  You can see the pride in their eyes in that photo.”

Fung also said that he and his sisters were monumentally influenced by the hard work of their father and mother.

“Everything they built, business or family, they did together and made sure that we were all provided for, and always pushing us, myself and two younger sisters, towards a good education,” Fung said.

Avedisian said that both Kwong-Wen and Tan Ping were “always the first to greet you with a handshake and a hug,” and that from his perspective they both had “such strong work ethic.”

“Everything I am today, who I am, is because of him and my mother,” Fung said.  “The hard work that they instilled in me, the commitment to the strong family values is something that I hold near and dear to my heart.  Every day I govern I keep in mind what they’ve instilled in me and carry that forward.”

Kwong-Wen Fung’s memorial service will be held at the Nardolillo Funeral Home on Park Avenue, with visitation hours from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 7.  A procession and burial will be Thursday, Feb. 8, with additional visitation set for that morning from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

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