William "Bill" Wing Lew
Oct 21, 1927 – Mar 30, 2017
After a very full life, William (Bill) Wing Lew, 94, passed away on March 30, 2017.
His family has been amazed at his determination to remain independent and active until his final days - exercising on Beacon Hill, socializing in Chinatown, and gambling at the casinos where he was known to share his life stories, and to be bet on as a top player.
Bill’s drive and resilience was reflected in his spirit since he was young. He was born in Guangdong, China - and immigrated across a month-long boat journey across the Pacific Ocean at 13 years old (in fourth class!). He was sponsored by his uncle’s father who helped build some of America’s railroads.
He arrived into a very different Seattle than we know today. He didn’t go to school - but worked as a shoe-shiner to make money…and likely other odd-end jobs that the Chinese could work during the early 1900s.
Bill saw Seattle’s Japantown disappear - when America sent the Japanese to internment camps, and he was required to wear an “I AM NOT A JAP” sticker to prove he was Chinese.
His work ethic continued throughout his adult years - starting as a bartender at Trader Vic’s (at the Westin Seattle), then promoted to restaurant management by Trader Vic’s owners because of his talent. He served America in the Korean War, so there will be a military honoring to recognize his service.
Bill married the beautiful May Shin Lew (who passed away in 2010), and who he said he selected out of a crowd in China. They became solid members of the growing Seattle Chinese community - and have seen many generations birthed and passed throughout the years. They are survived by their children Suzanne and Raymond; who have spouses Scott and Cathy; their grandchildren Loressa, Tesa, Jerica, Isabella, and Brandon; and their great grandson Keagan.
Through decades of growing pains - Bill’s challenges and triumphs created a solid foundation for his family to stand on. We honor the legacy he imprinted in his family, and in the lives of the generations that will follow.
The America we love is the one that welcomes immigrants and enables their rise, and their descendants' rise, through socio-economic classes. May we continue to be that America, moving forward.
This obituary is provided by Bonney-Watson, providing caring and compassionate funeral, cremation and cemetery services since 1868. We have a professional staff, four funeral homes, two cremation facilities and one of the largest cemeteries south of Seattle, as well as a comprehensive grief support program.