In Memoriam: Jade Snow Wong

Posted by AC Team on Wednesday, 22 March 2006.

Jade Snow Wong, ceramist and noted author of "Fifth Chinese Daughter" has died at 84. She died Thursday of cancer at
her home in San Francisco's Russian Hill.

Jade Snow Wong ceramist and noted author of "Fifth Chinese Daughter" has died at 84.

The Alumnae Family at Mills is saddened to announce that Jade Snow Wong, also known as Connie Wong Ong, '42, passed away on Thursday, March 16, 2006, of cancer at her home in San Francisco's Russian Hill.

An accomplished author, her acclaimed book, "Fifth Chinese Daughter," published in 1950, chronicled her early life growing up in San Francisco in a traditional Chinese family. It also documents her perseverance in her pursuit of a college education without financial support from her parents. Jade Snow attended junior college and then transferred to Mills at the urging of none other that Dr. Aurelia Reinhardt herself! It was during this time at Mills that Jade Snow reluctantly took an art class entitled Tools and Materials and fell in love with ceramic arts. Jade Snow graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Mills in 1942 and was the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Human Letters from Mills in 1976.

In 1945, at the age of 24, Jade Snow was given the task of getting the new alumnae headquarters built on campus. Resolute in facing the numerous challenges presented, the young Jade Snow secured donations, hired an architect, and purchased furniture for the completed building. Today Reinhardt Alumnae House still serves as the timeless and classic center of Mills alumnae activities.

A skillful and gifted ceramist, Jade Snow Wong has had her pottery and enamelware showcased throughout the country and around the world. As a struggling potter working at the storefront of a Grant Avenue merchant, she met another artist, Woodrow Ong. They were married in 1950 at the first wedding to ever be held at Reinhardt House. Together they fulfilled a dream of being a Chinese American couple who made their living as artists. They continued their artistic pursuits, started a family, opened a travel agency, and traveled extensively in Asia exchanging cultural, artistic, and
educational ideals.

In addition to being integral in the building of Reinhardt Alumnae House, Jade Snow also was key in the construction of the Life Sciences Building. Jade Snow Wong's many contributions to Mills College and the Alumnae Association of Mills College will never be forgotten. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Woodrow (Woody) Ong, and is survived by her sons, Mark and Lance and daughters, Tyi Ong Mar, '79, and Ellora Ong Chan, '81, and four grandchildren.