Janet passed away at Victoria General Hospital in Victoria BC, February 8, 2018, after a long and difficult battle with an intractable disease. Throughout her fight, she lived her life as she had lived it before – with grace, humour, and love, determined not to let the disease define her as she continued to be the best wife, friend, and mother she could be. Survived by her husband Raymond NY Yong, her sons Raymond TM Yong and Christopher TK Yong, daughter-in-law Julie Laviolette, grandson Anthony, her German Shepherd Ryder, and sibling to Rosie, Nettie (predeceased), Olga (predeceased), John, Paul (predeceased) and Peter. She is, and always will be, deeply loved and missed.
Born in the small town of Kenogami, Quebec the youngest of seven children of immigrant parents, Mom went from her modest beginnings to travel the world with our Singaporean Dad, a professor at McGill University. After a whirlwind romance of six months, Mom and Dad were married in a church ceremony in Kenogami. Five months later she met her parents-in-law in Singapore where she formed an instant and lasting bond with her new mother-in-law.
Mom took to Asian Culture and food with a life-long enthusiasm. Her culinary abilities were well known throughout her large circle of friends, and she became an excellent chef of Asian foods of many regions. On weekends, she could be found deep in conversation with grocers and restaurant owners in Montreal’s Chinatown where they would be discussing cooking techniques, ingredients, and recipes.
I couldn’t have asked for a better mother – she not only passed her love of Asian cooking on to me, but she also taught me patience, compassion, empathy, and responsibility. I would not have accomplished what I have accomplished, or become the person I have become without her guidance, wisdom, and friendship.
During her time in Montreal she became the surrogate mother to many of Dad’s foreign students who, during the year’s holidays were not able to travel back to see their families, and so they found a second home at our place, making every celebration a multi-cultural event with lots of fun, laughter, acceptance, and friendship.
An accomplished racket sports player, she enjoyed playing tennis, squash, and badminton. Later in life, she took up golf and continued playing tennis until just a few years ago. Her life in North Saanich, however, was centred around my Dad, Ryder, and her gardens. Mom could seemingly grow anything anywhere, and now, even though she’s no longer with us, we can marvel at the plants and flowers emerging from the ground as Spring approaches. Her magic touch will be evident for many years to come.
She and Dad have had a marriage we can only envy. From their brief courtship and on through 57 years they have always been there for each other, as spouses, best friends, and confidants. Never did I hear them argue, and any differences in opinion were categorized simply as that. Touchingly, each day ended as it started, with her turning to Dad and gently saying “I love you.”
And so, her last day has ended, her struggle is over, and her pain is gone. Good night Mom. We love you.
A Memorial Service will be held Friday, February 16, 2018, at 2 pm in the Sequoia Centre at McCall Gardens, 4665 Falaise Drive Victoria BC. Interment to follow at Royal Oak Burial Park. In lieu of flowers, the family would greatly appreciate a donation be made to the Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation, https://sphf.ca/donate/
Condolences may be offered to the family below.