Senator Hiram L. Fong
First Asian American elected to the U.S. Senate
Ellyn Lo Fong
ELLYN LO FONG
Ellyn Lo Fong was born in
, the third child of Lo On and Shee Ching on
December 21, 1911
. Along with her two older brothers, Alexander Yee and Herbert Lo, and her younger sister Ella Lam, Ellyn spent much of her childhood helping her parents with their little grocery store in the plantation town of
When she was 14, Ellyn moved to
which she represented in the Interscholastic Speech Contest. When the new
was completed, Ellyn transferred there and was a member of their first graduating class.
After high school, Ellyn attended
) for a semester. While in
, her mother joined her for a tour of the Orient. Little did she know then, that this trip would be the beginning of her life as a world traveler.
, Ellyn enrolled in the
and received a B.A. Degree with a 5th year education certificate. Upon graduation she was assigned to teach on Kaua`i, but was there only briefly.
It was during a picnic with a group from the
of Christ that Ellyn first met Hiram Leong Fong. After a courtship of nine years, they were married in 1938 at the
Motherhood and life as the wife of a local politician followed shortly. During World War II Hiram, who had been serving in the Territorial legislature in the House of Representatives, joined the Army. While in the service, he was not allowed to actively campaign, a role Ellyn took up on his behalf. With two small boys at home, Ellyn made the rounds of community rallies and helped her husband retain his seat in the legislature.
became a state in 1959, Hiram was elected to serve as the first Asian American in the US Senate and Ellyn and their children accompanied him to
. There she demonstrated the spirit of aloha, opening her home to many from the islands as well as being a hostess to dignitaries and senators from other states. During this time, Ellyn and Hiram would travel extensively throughout the world representing the
. Their duties took them to Europe, Africa,
, the Orient, and many other foreign countries.
, Ellyn served diligently as a Red Cross volunteer. She was later honored as a recipient of a certificate for Valued Services by the U.S. Senate Red Cross Chapter. It was also during this time that she was given the honor of christening the Navy ship Moana Wave and was inducted into the Society of Sponsors of the U.S. Navy. In 1999 she received the Distinguished Service Award from the Organization of Chinese American Women at their Biennial National Conference.
Ellyn was a member of the
Hawai`i Alumni Association
, the Kau Tom Post Auxiliary, the Associated Chinese University Women’s Association, the Te Chih Sheh Sorority,
of Christ, and the Palolo Chinese Home.
Ellyn and Hiram have four children, ten grandchildren, and two great granddaughters.
Ellyn passed away at the age of 94, March, 2006.