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Beverly Sui Ping Goo was born on February 12, 1936 in a small village located in southeast China near the border of Hong Kong and Macau. She was the oldest of two children born to her mother, Yok Lan Goo, and the older sister to four more siblings from her father, Bark Dai Goo.
While she did not have any sisters as a young child, Beverly's cousin, Kim Yuen, was the next best thing and the two were life-long sisters in spirit. Beverly also grew up with a group of school friends who, like Bev, would later move to California and continue their friendship for close to 80 years. Beverly eventually moved to Hawaii in her teen years and quickly became fluent in English, graduating from McKinley High School in Honolulu.
Beverly began attending the Honolulu Assembly of God church where she joined a Chinese-speaking group which met at the site. K.C. was also attending the same church but since he spoke no Chinese, their paths didn't cross. In 1956, K.C. was asked to take over as the pastor of the Chinese Assembly of God church in Los Angeles. His college roommate, Dale Barber, was the current pastor but was leaving to go to the mission field. K.C. accepted and reasonably concluded that if he were going to be the pastor of a Chinese church, it might be helpful to learn the language.
Some of K.C.'s church friends referred him to Beverly which was how he met his future bride. K.C. only had a few weeks before leaving for California and while he didn't learn any Chinese, he fell in love and proposed to Beverly before moving to California. If you knew K.C., you would understand how this was completely out of character for him so clearly, K.C. was smitten with Bev.
The next year, Beverly followed K.C. to California to finish her college education at Pasadena Nazarene College which was a private Christian college that later became Point Loma College. She spent four years there and graduated in 1961 with a bachelor's degree in Education. Following her graduation, Beverly and K.C. were married on September 9, 1961, at Bethel Temple in Los Angeles.
Beverly's lifelong dream was to become a teacher, thanks to her mother who fostered a love of learning in Beverly and her brother, Melvin. So after graduation, she accepted a teaching position at Van Wig School in the Bassett Unified School District where she remained for 40 years.
Beverly was a fixture at Van Wig as a kindergarten and first grade teacher. She was always a ball of energy and efficiency and in addition to her teaching duties, she mentored new teachers and served as student council advisor for many years. Beverly was particularly proud of her fund raising ability and would brag at home about raising upwards of $10,000 for her move-a-thon school fundraisers. In recognition of her accomplishments, she was honored as the district's Teacher of the Year, an honor of which she was immensely proud. This award meant so much to her that even when her cognition was severely compromised, she would mention this honor to her caregivers.
Beverly was a strong supporter of enriching the lives of children through a variety of meaningful experiences. She loved to bring programs to her school that featured animals, puppets, artists, dancers, and anything else she could find. One of Bev's proudest achievements was obtaining a grant to create a student art gallery on campus. She also loved coming up with field trips to places like the library or McDonald's or the Bob Baker Marionettes in Los Angeles. Years after leaving her classroom, Bev's former students would visit her and fondly remember those unique experiences that made such an impression on them as children.
While Bev had hundreds of children whom she claimed as her own, she actually gave birth to two children, Melissa and Jonathan. K.C. and Bev wanted their children to grow up with a sense of their Chinese heritage and decided to take matters into their own hands by opening a Chinese school. They met another couple, the Chans, who lived in Rowland Heights and were also interested in starting a school. Around the same time, they met Andrew Wong, a dentist with a practice in Rowland Heights who had two sons with his wife, Elsie. Andy was also interested in starting a school so the three families became the founders of the San Gabriel Valley Chinese Cultural Association.
Beverly was the principal with K.C. serving as the school secretary. They found the ideal location in West Covina at the United Methodist Church and the school opened in 1968. The goal of the school was not to make linguists of the students (as K.C. said) but to teach the children to appreciate their Chinese culture. Sadly, many of the students lived up to K.C.'s expectations regarding their lack of language fluency but the school was very successful in helping them learn to appreciate their heritage.
During her time as principal, the school eventually grew to over 120 students. Beverly served as principal for over 10 years and then stepped down when her children started violin lessons which included Saturday workshops classes. But Bev couldn't stay away for long and after a few years, she became principal once again with K.C. returning as the secretary.
K.C. and Bev were always very active in church and as a young family, they first attended Glengrove Assembly of God near their home in Valinda. K.C.'s former classmate, Dale Barber, returned from the mission field to again pastor the Chinese Assembly of God in Los Angeles and he called on his old friend K.C. to join him once more. So the Changs spent several years there,
helping in a variety of ministries as the church relocated to a new building in East Los Angeles.
During this time, the Changs moved to Hacienda Heights to be near their friends, the Nishidas. George was another college roommate of K.C.'s and the Nishida children were the same ages as Melissa and Jonathan so the families were a natural fit.
The Changs eventually moved to First Family Church in Whittier where they remained for close to 20 years. Reverting to habit, Beverly eventually headed up the children's Sunday School program. At that point, she was still working in her role of Chinese School principal, teaching kindergarten at Van Wig, taking her children to weekly violin lessons, and starting life as a high school band parent at Los Altos High School where Melissa (and later Jonathan) joined the band program. K.C. and Beverly's tenure as band parents never came to an end as Jonathan became a high school band director. They continued to attend his concerts and field shows and became familiar fixtures at his events.
Even in her retirement, Beverly kept busy. She wanted to continue to challenge herself so Bev started taking guitar lessons and began teaching a women's Bible study group. She and K.C. eventually moved to Evergreen Baptist Church where, not surprisingly, she began teaching Sunday School once again and she and K.C. became active members of the Harvesters senior citizens group.
Jonathan and his wife Nina had their first child, Ella Grace, in 2007 and Bev finally got her long-awaited grandchild. Up until then, she and K.C. were very happy spoiling their granddog, Ginger, who they inherited from Jonathan who inherited her from Lani, the youngest Nishida daughter. They also loved babysitting their "adopted" grandson, Stephen, who lived nearby with his parents, Bonnie and Craig. Bev also enjoyed indulging Rexford and Russell, sons of their friends, Richard and Ronalyn, along with numerous other substitute grandchildren. But truth be told, Bev always had a huge soft spot for Stephen, Rexford and Russell, her favorites.
But Ella held the title of granddaughter and Bev was thrilled to finally be a real grandmother. For that first year, K.C. and Bev babysat Ella during the week and all other hobbies took a backseat to their time with her. Ethan Kasey joined the family in 2010 and Beverly's happiness was complete.
Shortly before Ethan was born, K.C. and Beverly moved into Aegis of Chino Hills which later became Oakmont of Chino Hills. At first, they weren't too sure about leaving their home in Hacienda Heights but quickly got used to life at Oakmont and the perks of no more housekeeping, no more laundry, and no more cooking. More importantly, Oakmont had a memory care ward which became eventually became Beverly's home.
Bev had a gift of connecting with others no matter what the setting or circumstance and even at Oakmont, she was loved by the staff. She was a favorite of one particular head chef who wanted Bev to help him prepare a feast for Chinese New Year one year and took her off on a shopping trip to the 99 Ranch Market. K.C. and Beverly enjoyed having friends join them at Oakmont for meals in the private dining room so having a chef who adored Bev was a very pleasant perk. The family started to find excuses to invite friends for meals just to take advantage of Dusko's love for Mom.
Living at Oakmont was a huge blessing for Bev and despite her condition, her quality of life never diminished thanks to the caring staff who became her extended family. She also gained three more extended family members in Jamie, Jessica and Dino who visited Bev at Oakmont as her personal companions and helped to open her world up once more. Thanks to them, Bev could participate in activities such as painting, listening to music, exploring the facilities or just enjoying the sunshine.
There is a familiar parable in the Bible about a man who is about to embark upon a journey. He has two servants and entrusts them with valuable talents as he is leaving on his trip. One servant does nothing with his while the other servant wisely uses his to earn more. The book of Matthew (chapter 25, verse 23) says that upon his return, the master replied, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!" As we reflect on Beverly's life, she shines as an example of a believer who has taken the gifts and talents given to her by the Lord and multiplied them to bless the lives of those around her. This is the beautiful legacy that she leaves behind for all of us to cherish.
As we celebrate Beverly's journey to her heavenly home, the Chang family would like to express their love and gratitude to all of you who touched Bev's life in your own unique way. There's a saying that "Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half sorrow" and as we reflect on the glorious life that Beverly led, our sadness is overshadowed by our memories of her love, kindness and obedience to the Lord.
The actor Keanu Reeves was once asked what he thought happens when we die and he answered "I know that the ones who love us will miss us." We feel the truth of that statement as we feel the loss of Beverly in our lives. We miss her smile, her words, and her generosity of spirit. But while our hearts are heavy, our souls rejoice as we send Beverly to her heavenly reward and find great comfort in knowing that we will one day see her again in all her glory.
Monday, February 1, 2021
Starts at 11:00am (Pacific time)
Rose Hills Memorial Park
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