Jane Y. Fong, PhD, resident of Colorado Springs and formerly of Atascadero, CA, passed away on April 4, 2020. Dear sister of Harry (Jane), Jerry (Sheila), Judith Yem (Steve), Harold (Martha), Yem Ling (Michael), and the late Alta Jean.
Jane (Yem Ying) Fong was born on August 5, 1942, in Sun Wah Village, Taishan County, Guangdong Province, China. Along with her mother Susan, three siblings, and accompanied by her grandfather (a US citizen), Jane sailed to the United States by steamship in 1949 to join her father William, who was operating a laundry business in Erie, Pennsylvania.
The Fong family was and is close knit. Jane, being the eldest daughter, assumed the role of an “American mother” since her working mother was an adherent of Chinese culture and traditions. Jane learned English very quickly, and within a few years, won the City of Erie Spelling Bee contest. She was very musically inclined and brought home an old record turntable; then found an abandoned piano on the street and enlisted the help of schoolmates to move it into the house. She loved music, besides playing the piano, she sang in choirs, and found time to play violin in the Erie Academy High School orchestra. She also excelled in academics, and to no one’s surprise, loquacious Jane also joined the high school Senate and the Debate team. While earning her B.S. in psychology at Mount Union College in Ohio, Jane found her love of travel when the college’s Acapella Choir embarked on a world tour. Jane went on to earn a PhD in clinical psychology in 1973 at The Ohio State University. During her time in Columbus, Jane met and married Terry Waldo, a professional pianist specializing in ragtime music. Although the union was brief, they remained friends for life.
From Columbus, Jane went into public service for the Urban Institute for two years as a researcher in Washington DC, living in Falls Church, VA. Subsequently, she established her professional reputation as a clinical psychologist for the Psychiatric Institute and other organizations before taking up private practice there for many years. Jane later moved to New Mexico from 1990-92 to experience the Southwest and to work as a therapist at the Las Vegas Medical Center. She moved to California in 1993 when she married the late Rolf Rogers, PhD, a professor at California Polytechnic Institute. Jane and Rolf lived in a beautiful home surrounded by trees and wild grass in the spacious hills of Atascadero. She lovingly tended her rose bushes and a vegetable garden that she was very proud of, and had several adoring feline friends, Miss Kitty being her favorite and lasting companion. Being an accomplished psychologist, who loved her work, Jane once again built a very successful clinical practice in nearby Paso Robles, CA; and was a highly sought-after clinical therapist, as well as a forensic consultant. She was also involved in teaching, writing, and journal editing along with public service in Californian and national psychological organizations. She loved her California life, , work, friends, and community; and would have stayed there forever, but for health issues.
Jane moved to Colorado Springs in 2015 to be close to three of her siblings. Although still battling health challenges, Jane aspired to reestablish her clinical practice through the new concept of “video medicine” and navigated the long and winding road to be licensed as a psychologist in Colorado, which she accomplished in March 2018. Unfortunately, medical complications did not allow her dream of resuming her career to come true. At Brookdale Skyline, the senior community where she lived, Jane be-friended residents and staff alike, and was called Auntie Jane by some staff. She gave a power point presentation about immigration and family to over 100 attendees, and often interviewed residents about their lives and stories. She loved being part of the Aqua Joints Swim and Lunch Group, the Writers Group, and enjoyed trips to Breckenridge, the Royal Gorge, and the symphony.
Jane was outgoing, colorful, and passionate about living life fully. In the reflections of many of her close friends: she really defined the word resiliency as she fought complications from multiple myeloma; she was inspirational, unique and talented, and not a victim; her attitude of “positivity” was much admired. To her patients she offered strength and wise counsel. To her family she honored the Chinese culture, but at the same time, was often unorthodox, a “Mad Hatter” who gave eccentric Christmas presents to her nieces and nephews that earned her the nickname of “Weird Aunt Jane.”
Jane will be greatly missed by her family; by lifelong friends and former patients from DC to New Mexico to California, and by her community in Colorado Springs. Her spirit, strength, vitality, determination and unending search for knowledge will always be a model for her nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews as the Fong Family legacy carries on.