Obituary of William Louie Quong
Our sweet, precious and most beloved Dad and Grandpa, William (Bill) Quong, with his hands lovingly entwined in the arms of his daughters, Janet and Diane, made his final journey to Heaven into the welcoming arms of his most beloved wife and daughter, Lorice and Kristi, on February 17, 2019.
Dad was born in Boise, Idaho, at St. Luke’s hospital on September 6, 1929, to his parents Mabel and Louie Quong. He was the first of 4 children, with siblings Ruth, Paul, and Peter, and 6 half-sisters from a previous marriage of his father, May, Emma, Mary, Eva, Virginia and Rose. He had an adopted sister, Faye, all of whom loved dearly.
Dad had a very colorful childhood. In 1930, at the age of 1, his parents moved their small family to Hong Kong. After a year, they decided they didn’t want to stay under British rule and moved back to Idaho, where they lived in Garden City for a total of 5 years. In 1935, they bought a farm in Eagle, Idaho. Dad accompanied his father on many adventures. A most vivid memory was watching a plane spiraling down to the ground, after which, his father took him to the site of the crash. Another vivid memory is the time his father showed him the entrance to one of Boise’s mysterious underground Chinese tunnels, which started at a Chinese restaurant and led to businesses in downtown Boise. A most adorable photo of Dad is one in which he is riding on a toy tractor, which was to become his calling later in life. Dad had a lot of spunk as a little boy, often hiding under the stove or hiding in trees when he was in trouble, where his mother couldn‘t grab him! He loved to tell the stories of when he and a group of friends burned down a park, broke into the Natatorium, among other naughty adventures! We laugh at the thought of those boys running to avoid getting caught! He was an entrepreneur as a teen, selling fireworks with friends and relatives and using the money from the sales to make road trips to California! Dad learned a great deal about farming being raised on the farm. As a young boy he was responsible for milking the cows and tending the gardens. He was able to use this knowledge later in life.
He attended 1st grade at Linder Grade School, in Eagle, after which he attended Eagle Grade School and Eagle High School. He was a natural born athlete, picking up each and every sport easily and with finesse! He played baseball, basketball and football in high school, and upon graduation, he received an athletic award for his accomplishments. He had great pride in becoming an Eagle Scout, which was one of his greatest achievements as a teen!
Dad attended Boise Junior College on a scholarship with the tennis team. He received his associate’s degree and went on to attend San Jose State where he received his bachelor’s degree. Dad was so intelligent; he was accepted into Stanford for his Master’s degree, however, before he was able to attend he was drafted into the army. It was during this time in the army that he met his one and only true love, Lorice. On leave one weekend, he was visiting friends in San Jose, when the most beautiful young woman he’d ever seen walked down the stairs, sat on the floor and played a ukulele. After that first sight, he made every excuse to see Mom, first asking her to take him to see some mutual friends, then finagling Mom’s roommate into getting him football tickets. The roommate liked Dad, but Dad liked Mom, and after asking Mom for a date 6 times in one day, she finally said “yes!” Dad had an irresistible charm and personality. It was a union that was meant to be, and Mom and Dad were inseparable after that! While stationed near San Jose, Dad discovered a way to see Mom every weekend. He saw a pad of leave slips on his commander’s desk, stole the pad, had Mom forge the signatures and got to spend every weekend on leave with Mom! He told the most hilarious stories about his time in the army. He and his friends would line up in cadence, one of them would act as commander, lead them around the corner of the building, and they’d run!
In the army, Dad was offered the chance to serve in Japan, only if he was fluent in Chinese. Dad said he was, even though he wasn’t! He was given a test and decided if he answered “true” to every question, he had a 50% chance of getting them right! He passed and served his time in Japan. Dad was assigned to an extremely small unit and given top secret clearance, and to the end, wouldn’t and couldn’t talk about his duties. He was a Korean War veteran and so deservingly proud of it, wearing his “Korean War Veteran” hat everywhere.
It was during this time, Dad and Mom got engaged. He and Mom wrote letters to each other every single day, and each month he sent money from his paycheck to Mom to be saved for their upcoming marriage. After his service was over, he found, much to his dismay, that Mom had fun with the money and spent it! Mom and Dad were married on September 4, 1955. They moved to his parents’ farm in Eagle, Idaho, since his father was too old to continue farming, thus passing up the opportunity to attend Stanford for his Master‘s degree.
Soon after marriage, Mom and Dad had 4 little girls, Patti, Kristi, Janet and Diane (poor Dad, not a single boy!). As we put it now, sweet Dad had 5 females at any one time harping at him his entire life! Dad continued to work on the farm, splitting half of the profits with his parents, and receiving milk and butter for his share of the milking. However, money was very tight, and he and Mom traveled to California one winter to work at a large company. He finally found a local job at the Food King in Boise to supplement them through the winters. Even so, throughout the hardest years, Dad and Mom continued enjoying their married life by dancing the nights away at the local night clubs.
Dad had an illustrious career as a farmer due to his savvy, brilliance, and hard work. He purchased his first farm from his mother, then many more after that. He was able to use his extensive knowledge of farming in building his own businesses, which he turned into great successes. We have always been so proud of Dad for all of his great accomplishments, for which he was solely responsible. With strawberries as his main crop in the beginning, and it being an extremely vulnerable crop in the frosty days of spring, Dad was able to work with Midwestern University to develop a method for saving the strawberries from freezing. Normally, he would lose 50% of his crops during the frost, however, he knew that water could save his crops, he and developed a system of sprinkling the strawberries throughout the night to save them. It was an incredible success! After, many other farmers adopted his method of saving their crops from freezing! We spent many nights helping Dad, making sure all of the sprinklers continued working, unclogging the heads, hauling pipes and helping in any way we could. Dad continued adding more crops to his farm, innovating methods for making his the best local crops available. He developed a method for growing the biggest and most beautiful cauliflower in the valley, by keeping them cool in the hottest days with sprinklers, thus allowing the heads to grow to extreme sizes. One day, while driving and looking at other farms, Dad noticed that mint growers had painted fences. He realized if they had the money to paint fences, mint must be a very profitable crop. He began growing peppermint at that time, and became one of the first farmers in the valley to do so. Dad also became one of the first spearmint growers in the valley. He saw a patch in a garden, spoke to the woman who owned it and talked her out of a handful. With one handful, Dad was able to grow an entire greenhouse full of spearmint, and with that, he was able to grow an entire field, thus commencing his start as a spearmint grower. We remember so fondly helping Dad with this endeavor, planting the little pieces of spearmint in peat pots, then transplanting them to his field. Dad’s greatest recognition came when he was asked to serve on the Idaho Mint Commission. He also, with great distinction, designed and built a mint distillery on his farm that was considerably more efficient than others he had used.
Without a single boy, Dad put his girls to work just as if we were boys! At the tender age of 8, one by one, we were put to work. We treasure the precious memories, and it was hard but also fun! There were tubs and tubs of radishes and green onions to wash. Cartons and cartons of lettuce and cauliflower to pack. Miles upon miles of strawberries to hoe. But we loved helping Dad with his crops, learning how to set siphon tubes, working side by side, and were rewarded by his love. We remember with humor Dad’s funny hand signals, and not a single time we knew what he wanted, but said among ourselves, “Just pretend to keep working hard!” And not to forget Dad’s extraordinary eagle eye. During strawberry planting season each spring, we’d ride behind on his tractor, meticulously planting the plants one by one, but as the tractor slowly went faster and faster, we’d end up planting some upside down. We’d think we were safe from reprimand, but even 50 yards away, Dad would suddenly stop the tractor (oh, no!) and spot a single plant upside down! During strawberry harvest season, he taught us the value of hard work and work ethics, and much to our joy we’d be fired one by one! As we gratefully tried to sleep in the next morning, we’d hear our doors open up at 6:30 a.m. sharp and hear his voice yelling, “It’s 6:30! Get out there!“ We’d reply, “We can’t! We’re fired!“ And we’d hear his voice, again, “Get out there now!“ And we absolutely paid for our misbehaviors when Dad would send us into the shoulder high mint, in 90-100 degree temperatures, to pull goldenrod weeds! As one dear relative put it, Dad would be dropping his F-bombs, and Mom would be calling him an a****** for it! Enjoyably, Dad turned us into good workers, using the most colorful language, too!
Dad made sure we had joy in our lives. Even when money was the tightest, he bought us 2 Shetland ponies, and we had many, many of his special picnics of 10 cent chicken wings, under a tree at a little A-frame restaurant, and fishing trips by the dozens with picnics of wonderful food made by Mom. After we got older, Dad bought a boat and taught us to water-ski. Dad was an excellent skier! We’d picnic every weekend at the same spot at Lucky Peak, and he shared these special days with his friends and their families and our friends. Dad finally got his little boy with Kristi’s little doxie Hippo, who would accompany us on our boating trips. We would see Dad’s truck drive by with Hippo’s little brown head right next to him. Dad’s girls and Mom loved Dad so dearly.
The choices Dad made in his crops proved to be the ones that finally made life good for his family. Dad and Mom became involved in Boise State Athletics, both serving on the BAA Board of Directors, Dad for 3 years, Mom for 6. They made dozens of new friends, and traveled to away games for the Broncos, from Arizona, to Hawaii, and California. They hosted parties and traveled to Jackpot with their new friends, and Dad was able to put all 4 daughters through college without them having to work like he did. We were all so fortunate and spoiled by his love, graciousness and generosity. So very proudly, Dad and Mom became Pavilion Lifetime Members and President Club Members, and he loved pointing to their names displayed on a plaque outside. They were able to spend many enjoyable years attending concerts and shows. He never lost his joy for watching his Broncos play, both football and basketball.
At Mom’s urgency, after a mini-stroke, Dad finally reluctantly retired! In his retirement years, Dad took up two new adventures, morning coffee with friends and golf! Like all of his others sports, Dad was a natural, often scoring 80 or under, and his greatest and most remarkable feat was 7 Holes in 1! He had great pride seeing his name in the paper! Dad made more new friends at both, and all of these friends were so special to him. Dad’s magnetic personality and fun sense of humor drew people to him, and he was never without company at coffee, playing cards, shopping and golf!
One of Dad’s greatest sadnesses was losing his beloved and beautiful Kristi in 1985. His heart was shattered into a million little pieces; he took it so hard, and one day, Patti found him curled inside one of his giant tractor wheels, sobbing. But somehow, someway, Dad managed to turn his grief into compassion for others going through the same ordeal by joining Compassionate Friends. He kept active for many, many years, and helped so many people with his kindness and love.
Dad found true joy again in 1996 with the birth of his only grandchild, Noelle. From day one, Dad took his new role as “BaBop” with great aplomb. As with his own kids, Dad was her great protector and teacher. He accepted his responsibilities as baby sitter (Dad napping with Noelle napping on top of him), as her personal transport (tucking her under his arm like a sack of potatoes), as her buddy in his favorite game, cribbage (stopping after Noelle beat him!), and as her driving teacher (even after she drove his golf cart into a ditch!) Grandpa was a shining star in Noelle’s life. He was patient and gracious, ensuring she had the best in life, from her daycare to her education, but most of all, his greatest gift to her was his pure love, the kind of love only a grandfather can give. She was so blessed, so loved, and Noelle loved him so much in return.
Dad, Grandpa, our love for you will never end but will get deeper and stronger with time. Thank you so much for being the most exemplary father and grandfather to us. We will wake up each morning with you in the most special places in our hearts. You showed us great bravery through these last 6 months, which helped us to be courageous for you. You gave us the most beautiful gifts in life, pure love, graciousness, honesty, integrity, compassion, courage, generosity and trust, and you gave them from your heart to ours. You cared for us in illness and sadness, and you made each and every one of us feel like the most important person in your life. It was a joy and a privilege to be with you every day, Dad, through the years to the end (from Janet). Dad’s heart broke after losing Mom and Kristi, and we know that they were there to greet him and heal his heart forever. Dad, please continue dancing in the stars with Mom. Our hearts will finally heal when we get to be with you again. We love you so very much, forever.
Dad, Grandpa was preceded in death by his parents, Lorice (our beautiful Mom, Grandma), his beloved daughter Kristi, 2 siblings, Paul and Ruth, his half-sisters, May, Emma, Mary, Eva, Virginia and Rose, and sister Faye. Surviving are his daughters, Janet, Diane Compton, Patti Tauge and husband Howard, granddaughter, Noelle, his much loved brother, Peter, his sweet beloved little yorkie Sweetie Pie, plus many, many special friends and relatives. Our sincere thank you’s go to St. Luke’s MSTI and his primary physician, Dr. Eric Maier, for their compassion and care of Dad. Please join us on Saturday, March 2, 2019, 2:30 p.m., at the 1st Presbyterian Church of Boise, 950 W State St, Boise, ID 83702, for Dad’s service, with full military honors, and directly following in the reception room for a light early dinner of Chinese food, appetizers and drinks.