Thlick Hong Eng obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Thlick Hong Eng

December 10, 1921 - March 24, 2015

Obituary


COMING TO AMERICA: THE LIFESTORY OF THLICK HONG ENG

December 10, 1921 - March 24, 2015

THLICK HONG ENG was born in Canton, China to ENG MING F. and WONG SHEE. He had an elder brother, who immigrated to Guatemala. At the young age of 16, with no ability to speak English, and with only a few personal possessions, Mr. Eng immigrated to the United States through Seattle, Washington, entering on April 14, 1937. As was a fairly common practice during the days of the Chinese Exclusion Act, he came as the "paper...

COMING TO AMERICA: THE LIFESTORY OF THLICK HONG ENG

December 10, 1921 - March 24, 2015

THLICK HONG ENG was born in Canton, China to ENG MING F. and WONG SHEE. He had an elder brother, who immigrated to Guatemala. At the young age of 16, with no ability to speak English, and with only a few personal possessions, Mr. Eng immigrated to the United States through Seattle, Washington, entering on April 14, 1937. As was a fairly common practice during the days of the Chinese Exclusion Act, he came as the "paper son" of NG GIM PANG (who in actuality was his much older first cousin) and Mee Ong Ng, who lived in Washington, D.C. With the help of an American couple, he learned English and in June, 1939 he earned an elementary school completion certificate from the Americanization School and became entitled to admission to one of the Washington high schools. Being 17 and adventurous, he moved to San Antonio, Texas where he went to work in the grocery store owned by N.S. Bow, who was also from the same village in China. While living in San Antonio, he attended San Antonio Technical High School, from which he graduated in 1942.

As a member of the Greatest Generation, he was "requested" to serve his country by Bexar County Selective Service Board No. 8 in December, 1942. After training in Florida, he shipped out of New York on the R.M.S. Queen Mary to Glasgow, Scotland in September, 1943. Shortly after D-Day, he landed in Belgium and eventually also saw service in France and Germany as a soldier in the 893rd Ordinance Heavy Maintenance Company. He performed heavy equipment repair and, at one point, also guarded prisoners of war. Following the surrender of Germany, he was returned to the U.S. and mustered out as a Technician Third Grade (equivalent to a Staff Sergeant) at Ft. Meade, Maryland on March 9, 1946.

Following his discharge, he returned to San Antonio for a short period of time, and then went back to China. In December, 1948, he returned to the U.S. with his new bride, Wong Meiching. Following a short stay in Los Angeles, he could not resist the call of the Texas spirit and returned to San Antonio to begin his family. A son, Kenneth, was born in 1950. With the economy in Houston rumored to be booming, the growing Eng family moved to Houston in early 1951. Doris was born in 1954; William was born in 1965; and Robert was born in 1969.

In Houston, he continued working in the grocery business, first as an employee, and then as an entrepreneur. His first store, located in Acres Homes, was the then-typical small, Chinese-owned, neighborhood grocery business. The front of the building served as the store and one small room in the back served as the multi-functional living room, kitchen, and bedroom.

After working hard and saving money for several years, he bought some property in Sunnyside and acted as his own contractor to build a new store. He opened the new store in 1959, only to have it severely damaged by Hurricane Carla the following year. He repaired the damaged building and continued to operate his grocery business until the early 70's when he retired from the grocery business. During his days as a grocer, he suffered many of the same hardships and hazards as today's business owners, including a grazing bullet wound to the head from a robber's gun.

Following his retirement from the grocery business, the family moved to Los Angeles, California in 1973, which was then home to all of his in-laws. After approximately two years in California, the family returned to Texas. His retirement years were spent working in the garden, taking walks around the neighborhood, and working on his rental properties.

He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Meiching Wong Eng; children, Kenneth (Lin), Doris, William (Khanh), and Robert; and grandchildren, Crystal, Tiffany, Huy-Anh, Minh-Anh, Nam-Anh, and Hoang-Anh.