Donald Robert Chew
February 28, 1931 – February 9, 2021
Heaven welcomed another angel on February 9, 2021 when Don peacefully left us, just shy of 90 years of age.
It is hard to say what we will miss most - the warmth of his smile, that comforting arm around your shoulder, the glint in his eye when telling a joke, or his generous spirit. We were truly blessed to have had him in our lives, teaching by example that family and friends are what matter most. He would tell us not to be sad, but to instead smile and be grateful that he had such a great life.
Don was born in Chicago to Duck and Annabelle Chew. The family relocated to China when he was 3, then he moved with his mother and two older sisters to SF just before the war. Education was a focus for the family. Don attended St. Mary’s elementary school, St. Ignatius high school, and UC Berkeley.
Don met Jayne in 3rd grade at St. Mary’s; little did he know that she would become his wife of almost 67 years. Don and Jayne married shortly after college graduation, settling in Davis, CA, for a few years working for the university there. After a short stint in the Army, they moved to San Francisco where Don began a 30-plus year career with the Public Utilities Commission as a transportation engineer.
Don was a travel agent in his spare time and was the ringleader for countless trips with family and friends. He and Jayne enjoyed traveling near and far literally right up until the pandemic struck, with cruise ships being their favorite mode of transportation. The annual family trips created many special memories with his kids and grandkids. Always the planner, Don made reservations for two upcoming family trips; he was eagerly looking forward to post-pandemic life.
Ballroom dancing was a big part of his life. The “Friday Night Circle” gathered for 35+ years of dancing, laughing, and good times. Many dance club members also travelled with Don, so they had great memories of taking over the dance floor on the cruises. There was nothing like the huge smile on his face when he was teaching the grandkids, grandnieces, and grandnephews a few dance steps.
Don’s spirit will live on through his family: his soulmate Jayne, his beloved children and their spouses Mark (Chris), Mary (Jon), Glenn (May) and Ann Marie (Ed), his adoring grandkids Nicholas, Jonathan, Catherine, Alyssa, Jamie and Ryan, and many loving nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews.
A private memorial will be held in the future. If desired, donations can be directed in his memory to the Richmond District YMCA (360 18th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94121 or http://www.ymcasf.org/donate?kwofrid=HW7EI31) or Old St. Mary’s Cathedral and Chinese Mission 660 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94109