Syen “Sunny” Ina Hom

12/31/1922 – 8/10/2018

Heaven was blessed with one more angel when Syen “Sunny” Ina Hom died peacefully in Seattle, Washington, on August 10, 2018, at the age of 95.

Sunny was born December 31, 1922, in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, the fourth of seven children, to Wong Chung Ark and Wong Ma Sze (AKA Mar Gim Thiel), who operated a hand laundry business. As a youth, Syen was given the nickname, “Sunny,” due to her optimism and cheery personality. She had an infectious smile and a love for life that she shared with her family, friends, and everyone she met.

She grew up in Kelowna and worked many hours in her family’s laundry, but also participated in activities such as her high school Radio Club, the Kelowna war bond drive, and the local Lady of the Lakes Regatta as a beauty contestant. (She said she came in second.)

After graduating from high school in 1942, she left home for Minneapolis, Minnesota to attend nursing school with the goal of a career as a flight attendant. Those plans changed after she met the love of her life, Leong “Lee” Hom, then a medical student, whose parents also operated a hand laundry business. Sunny contracted tuberculosis while studying in Minneapolis, but was successfully treated with streptomycin, an experimental drug at the time. To raise money to pay for her treatments, Lee had to sell a microscope that he used in his medical school courses. 

Sunny and Lee married in 1948, and their first son, Douglas, was born in 1949. They moved to Monticello, Minnesota, where Lee first began medical practice. Several years later, they moved to Battle Lake, Minnesota, where they were blessed with 3 more sons, Denis in 1951, James in 1953, and Curtis in 1958.

Except for two years during the Korean Conflict when Lee was stationed at NAS Great Lakes near Chicago, the family stayed in Battle Lake until 1967, then moved 19 miles west, to Fergus Falls, Minnesota, where Lee helped form the Fergus Falls Medical Group. After 46 years in Fergus Falls, Sunny and Lee moved to the Seattle area, in 2013, to be closer to family members.

Sunny was an active member of the community in both Battle Lake and Fergus Falls. She worked as a medical technologist and bookkeeper for Lee’s medical practice in Battle Lake, was repeatedly a Cub Scout Den Mother (remember, 4 boys), was active in PTA and in her church, joined the fraternal Order of the Eastern Star, and enjoyed performing tap and jazz dancing at local events.

In the late 1960s, Sunny and two friends purchased and ran successfully a boutique dress shop in Fergus Falls, called Clara B. Wright’s, which provided them with buying trip adventures in New York City (about which they were pretty hush-hush). 

Sunny was a loving wife and mother, unapologetically proud of her family, and intense in her love and support of her sons, their families, and her grandchildren. She lived a long and full life. Although afflicted with dementia in her last years, she did not suffer from it as she retained many old memories and much of the vivaciousness and good cheer that made her loved by many.
 
Sunny was preceded in death by her parents, five siblings (Wong Ngon Wun, Wong Sen Ho, Wong Suey Hoy, Wong Sen Gim, Wong Suey Lee), and her loving and devoted husband of 67 years, Leong Y.W. Hom, who died in 2016. 

Sunny is survived by her children, Douglas Hom, Denis Hom (Mei-Lan), James Hom (Siu-Lin), Curtis Hom (Vivian), her brother Tony Wong (Mavis), her grandchildren, Kyra-lin Richman (Chad), Ainsley Telem (Elan), Jordan Hom, Kendall Hom, Michael Hom (Quyen Luu), Lauren Oien (Michael), Jacqueline Hom, Quinn Hom, and Andrew Hom, and her great grandchildren, Asher Oien, Vera Oien, and Oswald Hom.

Sunny’s final resting place is right next to Lee at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, Washington. “Together again forever.” A celebration of her life was held October 20, 2018, in Seattle.

Memorial donations may be made in her name either to First Lutheran Church, 402 South Court Street, Fergus Falls, MN 56537, www.firstlutheranchurchff.org, where Sunny and Lee were longtime members, or to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (322 Eighth Avenue, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10001, www.alzfdn.org.

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