GAN QUONG "FREDDIE" GEE
Jan. 10, 1917 - July 15, 2014
Freddie Gee would always say, "Life is like money...here today, gone tomorrow."
Gan Quong "Freddie" Gee was born in Canton Province, China on January 10, 1917 and died in Brawley, California on July 15, 2014 of pneumonia at the age of 97. In 1930, he came to America at the age of 13 first residing in Modesto. A childless couple "adopted" him, sent him to school and taught him English. In 1934, he returned to China where he got married to Soon Oy Wong, his wife of 80 years, and where Edmond and Phyllis were born.
In 1936, he returned to America but was unable to bring his family. He made his way to El Centro in July where he worked at Kaiser Shipyards on Liberty ships until he was drafted into the US Army Air Corps. After his discharge from the Army in 1946, he returned to El Centro and became part owner of the Rice Bowl restaurant. He earned enough money to return to China in 1947 and brought his wife, Soon, and his children back to El Centro, ending his 11 year World War II separation.
Freddie later operated a grocery store in Niland, during which time his other children, Donald, Jeannie, and Danny were born, before buying Pine Market in Holtville in 1955, which he owned for 23 years until his retirement in 1978. Freddie loved fishing and hunting and the folks in the Imperial Valley, who were his friends and neighbors. To Freddie, the Imperial Valley (small-town America) was ideal for his lifestyle and for raising a family.
Freddie was a member of the Holtville Hunting Dog Club and the Holtville American Legion. He was former President of the El Centro Chinese Free Masons (Bing Kung Tong). Freddie was honored to serve his country during World War II and maintained his connections and service to the military as a lifetime member of the American Legion and was a Post Commander of Bradley-Keffer Post 138 in Holtville in 1986 and 1987 as well as 1st Vice Commander in 1995. Freddie also served as President of the Imperial Valley Grocers Association 1974 and 1975 and was chosen Grand Marshal of the Holtville Carrot Festival Parade in 1993.
Freddie Gee is survived by his wife, Soon Oy Gee; his brother residing in China, Sin Fong Mah and his family, sons Edmond Gee of Brawley, Donald Gee of Hacienda Heights, CA and Dr. Danny Gee of Wellesley, MA; daughters, Phyllis Gee Leung of Holtville, CA and Jeannie Gee Head of Oceanside, CA; grandchildren, Perry and Greg Leung, Adrian and Tamara Head, Brian Gee, Carolyn and Michelle Gee, Douglas and Randy Gee and Connie Gee Park; great-grandchildren, Jeremy and Ryan Leung, Haley and Imogene Park, Julia and Elise Gee, and Catherine Gee.
Viewing will be at Hems Brothers Mortuary, 1975 S. 4th St., El Centro, CA on Thursday, August 7th from 6 to 9 p.m. Burial and taps will be at Riverview Cemetery, 4700 Hovley Rd., Brawley, CA at 10 a.m. on August 8th. A celebration of life ceremony and reception will follow the burial at noon at the Chinese Confucius Church, 517-519 Broadway, El Centro, CA.
In lieu of flowers, it was Freddie's wish that donations be made to the American Legion Bradley-Keffer Post 138, P.O. Box 836, Holtville, CA 92250.