please visit www.SenatorFong.com
Hiram Leong Fong passed away on August 18, 2004 at his home in Honolulu, Hawaii.
At his passing, Governor Linda Lingle ordered Hawaii's state flag to be flown at half-staff around the islands in memory of Hiram Fong. His love of Hawaii and its' people was honored at the State Capitol Rotunda on August 26, 2004.
HIram Fong is well known as the first Asian-American to serve in the U.S. Senate, as well as Hawaii's first Senator when Hawaii became a state in 1959. His political career spanned over 30 years, 14 years in Hawaii's Territorial House of Representatives, then 17 years in the U.S. Senate. He retired in 1977. He has also founded numerous successful businesses in Hawaii. Through the years he has received 11 honorary degrees and many other awards, nationally and internationally.
Hiram Fong was born in 1906, the seventh of 11 children. His father and mother both immigrated to Hawaii from China. Even as a young child Hiram was hard working, helping the family financially with odd jobs like delivering poi, shining shoes, selling newspapers, and caddying rounds of golf.
He graduated from McKinley High school and later the University of Hawaii at Manoa. For a few years after that he worked to save money to attend Harvard Law School, which he graduated in 1935.
He then worked as a deputy attorney for the city and county of Honolulu. Later he founded a law firm of Fong, Miho, Choy and Robinson.
In 1938, Hiram Fong won a seat in the Territorial House of Representatives. He was 31 years old. He went on to become the Speaker of the house working well with both Democrats and Republicans.
During WWII, he was in the Army Air Corps as judge advocate of the 7th Fighter Command of the 7th Air Force.
With a group of business friends, Hiram Fong founded many successful companies in Hawaii such as Finance Factors, Finance Realty, Finance Home Builders, Finance Investment, Finance Factors Foundation, Market City, and others.
Quite opposite to his stressful business and Governmental duties Hiram Fong started a hobby gardening in 1950, but like all his ventures, it was on a grand scale. Importing and planting an endless variety of flower and fruit trees from around the world he started what is now known as Senator Fong's Plantation and Gardens, a 725 acre botanical garden and recreation center in Kahaluu, Oahu.
He and his wife Ellyn, who passed away in 2006, have 4 children, Hiram Jr., Rodney, Marvin, and Meri-Ellen. He also has 10 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren.
Up until his death at age 97, he was still an able man with a sharp mind. You could find him at his namesake Senator Fong's Plantation and Gardens every weekend, talking with visitors and enjoying the peaceful surroundings of flowers, fruit trees, and palms, much of which he planted himself and always said contributed to his long life.