Geoffrey P. Wong
March 10, 1941 - October 7, 2020
Sacramento, California - On October 7, 2020, Geoff Wong passed away from complications from lung cancer. On his final day, he was very happy to be surrounded by his immediate family before taking his final breath that evening.
Geoff's was a life well-lived. He was known for his gregarious personality, diverse talents, sense of humor, welcoming smile, and generous heart. He made many longtime friends and endeared himself to many others with acts of kindness and shared fun experiences.
Geoff, a fourth-generation Sacramentan, attended Washington Grammar School, California Junior High School, and McClatchy High School, where he was its representative to Boys' State and where he began demonstrating his leadership skills. In 1958, Geoff followed in his grandfather and father's footsteps and attended the University of California, Berkeley, graduating with a major in political science. His involvement in a myriad of Cal campus activities was legendary and iconoclastic. The "Snowman" (his designated nickname) garnered such widespread respect and admiration that Geoff was voted the recipient of the prestigious Kenneth Priestly Award for Outstanding Senior Leadership. One of his fondest Cal memories was being one of the designated student hosts when JFK spoke at the Greek Theater in 1962. Geoff's experience at Cal expanded his vision of what his life could become after college.
Geoff spent the next few years working part-time while attending law school at night. He passed the State Bar exam in 1969. Over the next five decades, in addition to practicing law, he explored his talents and horizons by taking his life in many directions – not limiting himself to the probable, but testing the possible with each new adventure. To name a few, Geoff: became Old Sacramento's Frisbee champion, was anointed the Sultan of the Fijian Island of Yanuca, saved the Delta King, ran for Mayor of Sacramento and for Honorary Mayor of Old Sac, hosted the late night KCRA TV show, GWAT (Geoff Wong Adventure Theater), wrote/broadcast TV and newspaper movie reviews, composed an original song for a local contest, was part-owner in local boutique hotels (Sterling/Viscaya), was a founding member of the Valley Broadcast Legends, led the Sacramento chapter of the California Alumni Association as President, was selected as a member and vice president of the alumni-wide California Alumni Association Board of Directors, and enjoyed Cal football as a true blue season ticket holder for more than 45 years (Go Bears!). He travelled the world, being a host for the former Bear Treks as well as well as on his own. He published two books, "A Golden State of Mind" and "Golden Daze," which captured the high jinx, college climate and social upheaval bubbling on the Berkeley campus and society at large during the pre-Vietnam era. Like his beloved past time, craps, he threw his life out there with abandon. After all, if you don't roll the dice, you aren't in the game.
Throughout his life, Geoff made and kept many loyal friends and reached out with kindness and generosity to others. He did not measure his life by monetary success but by the quality of his relationships with people: his family, his close friends, and many others who shared his values and zest for life.
During his illness, many friends recalled personal stories of what a wonderful caring man he was and what lasting impressions he made on their lives. Uncle Cal and Aunt Jeni Fung and many cousins kept his spirits high revisiting their memorable experiences. Special thanks to Jeanne Hastings, Sutter at Home staff, and private caregivers for providing needed support during this difficult time.
Geoff was predeceased by his father and mother, Earl and Ruby Wong, and by his much-loved soulmate, Lauren LaMay. He is survived by his two sisters and their families: Lynda J. Welter and husband, Lee, Lynda's two children, Marc Laven and fiancé Damian Sargent, Monique Ming Laven Sido and husband, James Sido; and Patricia H. Wong and husband, Thomas A. Craven, their daughter, Kelly Wong Craven and husband, Oscar Gonzalez de Llano, and their toddler son, Guy Wong Gonzalez with whom Grand Uncle Geoff enjoyed a special bond.
He rests in peace on the fifty yard line at East Lawn, Folsom Blvd. A celebration of life will be planned for the future. For those who would like to honor his memory and who haven't done so already, in lieu of flowers, a donation to Cal Athletics, to the UC Berkeley Light the Way Campaign or to a charity of your choice
would be appreciated.