Anne Chinn Wing, who passed away on July 25 at the age of 96, was remembered as a fun-loving, dedicated volunteer for many Seattle community groups, including Kin On Health Care Center, the Miss Chinatown Queen Pageant, and the Gee How Oak Tin Association.
“Anne was a leader and a great resource and asset for our community,” said Fred Yee, former director of Kin On. Yee said Wing served as Kin On board president in the mid-1990s and helped shepherd completion of a new 100-bed nursing home in 1996 following an ambitious board-led capital campaign. “She will be much missed.”
Bettie Sing Luke said she admired Anne’s ability to maintain an active social life—which included mahjong games with friends and dancing—even as she took on leadership roles for many community causes, both Asian and non-Asian. “Kin On was one very important agency to her,” Luke said. “She supported Kin On in many big and small ways. I remember attending a food fair at Kin On and seeing Anne bring in a box of freshly-made joong tay. Those sold before she even unpacked the box.”
Wing helped first establish the queen pageant in 1948 to celebrate Chinese cultural traditions and ethnic pride for young women. She continued to run the pageant for 35 years, receiving an award from the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce in 1986.
Wing’s involvement with the Gee How Oak Tin Association, one of the oldest family associations in Seattle, spanned many decades beginning in the 1960s. The Association is comprised of Chinese with the surname of Chin, Woo, and Yuen. Wing served as head of the Oak Tin women’s auxiliary for three terms and helped push for greater representation of women on the national level.
Her involvement in the family association stemmed from fierce pride in her father’s role as a pioneer Chinese American settler in Seattle.
Wing was born in the early Chinatown in Pioneer Square near Second Avenue and South Washington Street. Her father Chinn Kee, a community leader, was one of the first Chinese employed by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. “We had our home at the back of the store,” Wing said in a 1991 interview featured in Reflections of Seattle’s Chinese Americans: The First 100 Years. “The store was a very busy place because at that time, there were so few families and mostly single men. Because they couldn’t speak English and they were unable to get employment, that was the core of their everyday activities.”
Wing, known as “Auntie Anne” to the local community, was also remembered as a free-spirited individual who loved to travel and participate in ballroom dancing with her husband David.
“No one loved a party more than she,” Bette Luke, Wing’s daughter-in-law, said. “At the age of 84 while on one of many cruises, she and David were, as usual, the first up on the cruise ship’s stage where there was open dancing. Showing off, she kicked her leg too high in the air and damaged her knee, which resulted in a knee replacement operation. She recuperated quickly and was back on the dance floor, not kicking quite so high.”