(File Photo: California.gov)
Los Angeles (People's Daily) - March Fong Eu, who recently died at the age of 95, was the first female secretary of state, the first Asian-American woman elected to a California constitutional office and a true history maker.
A memorial was held at the Ronald Reagan State building in Los Angeles on March 29 to honor Fong Eu’s career contributions, which spanned more than two decades.
Judy Chu, member of the US House of Representatives, called Fong Eu a model for Asian-American women during the memorial ceremony.
“She always conducted herself with such dignity and professionalism,” Chu said. “She made it easier for someone like me to actually succeed in office.”
Al Muratsuchi, member of the California State Assembly, said Fong Eu’s career was an important milestone, which helped break gender and racial barriers in American politics.
“We now have 27 women in the California state legislature,” Muratsuchi said. “I believe this year, we are going to be electing a lot more. We now have 16 Asian-Pacific islanders in the California state legislature and we would not be there, but for March Fong Eu.”
Beyond her political career, Fong Eu was known to be a considerate and caring person to everyone around her. She treated her bodyguard, Bill Jimenez, like family and the two were lifelong friends.
(Photo:Judy Chu, member of the US House of Representatives/Ryan Yaoran Yu)
March came from humble beginnings, born in Oakdale, California on March 29, 1922 to Chinese immigrants.
In 1974, Fong Eu was elected California Secretary of State and was proud to have been the first female to serve in the position.
In 1994, she was appointed to serve as the ambassador to the Federal States of Micronesia by former President Bill Clinton.
During her retirement, Fong Eu became an accomplished artist and calligrapher.