Sept. 7, 1948 - May 5, 2014
Arthur Douglas Wong, the longtime owner of Ramona's Pizza in Palo Alto and a tireless advocate for youth sports, died Monday at his home in Atherton after a 12-year battle with brain cancer. He was 65.
Mr. Wong volunteered countless hours promoting physical fitness and youth sports. Seeing that his sons' Redwood City elementary school had no P.E. program, he volunteered there as a P.E. teacher during the 1980s. He served many years as head of a Palo Alto youth basketball nonprofit. And he was a longtime organizer of the JACL Junior Olympics.
After graduating from San Jose State University, Mr. Wong started his career as a P.E. teacher in Burlingame. But he relished the idea of working for himself: In 1978, he decided to go into the pizza business, buying Ramona's in the heart of Palo Alto.
He took pride in the fact that Ramona's served as a community gathering place for generations of Stanford students and local residents, hosting everything from first dates and graduation dinners to team pizza parties. He later opened a second restaurant, Ramona's Too.
Mr. Wong was born on Sept. 7, 1948, in the Taishan region of southern China. He and his family immigrated to San Francisco when he was 5. At George Washington High, he lettered in basketball, track and cross country; he won All-City honors in basketball and cross country.
He met Judy Namba at a church dance, and they were married on Aug. 12, 1973. He would often tell friends that Judy is "the love of my life." Mr. Wong also was dedicated to his two boys, never missing their sports games no matter how far the drive.
He fell in love with the ocean during a year spent in Hawaii, where he learned to surf, snorkel and boogie board. And he could lose himself for hours tending to his flowers and fruit trees.
But basketball was his favorite pastime. Without fail, he could be found every Thursday playing pick-up games with his brother at the Palo Alto Buddhist Temple gym. Known for his unorthodox jumpshot, he was as tough on the court as he was fighting cancer. Though he endured several brain surgeries, seizures and setbacks, he always maintained a positive outlook on life.
In addition to his wife of 40 years, Mr. Wong is survived by two sons and their wives, Scott and Michele Wong of Washington, D.C., and Russell and Lesley Wong of San Mateo; two grandchildren, Olivia and Thomas; brother Harvey Wong of Los Altos; and sisters Lorraine Young of Laguna Niguel and Nellie Jones of Chico.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 10, at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 4243 Manuela Ave., Palo Alto. He will be inurned at Alta Mesa Memorial Park. Donations in his memory may be made to the Stanford Brain Cancer Fund, Development Services, PO Box 20466, Stanford, CA 94309.
Alta Mesa Memorial Park
Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on May 7, 2014