Cover photo for Colleen Tan's Obituary
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2019 Colleen 2019

Colleen Tan

July 8, 2019 — July 8, 2019

Colleen Woo Tan passed away on July 8, 2019 in Downey, California at the age of 94. She was born on July 28, 1924 in San Francisco, raised in Hong Kong and was a longtime resident of Whittier, California.

Colleen studied English and American literature at Indiana University, graduated magna cum laude and later obtained her masters degree in literature as well. While studying at IU, she met the love of her life, Kok Joon Tanny Tan, in the college's Chinese Club. They got married in the summer of 1949 and were blessed to have enjoyed 60 years of wedded bliss, until Tanny's passing in 2009.

Colleen started her career in education in Northern California at UC Berkeley, moving to Whittier in 1957 and taught at Whittier High School. Later on she accepted a position at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA, where she was the first Asian American instructor hired by the college. She was a professor of English and Speech Communication at Mt. SAC for the next 49 years!

Over the last several decades, Colleen was a very active member of the Whittier community and involved in many groups such as the American Association of University Women (AAUW), Delta Kappa Gamma, Friends of the Shannon Center, Whittier Public Library Foundation, Assistance League, Club Singapura, Ladies Art and Culture Society, and many more. A devout Catholic, she attended mass at St. Mary's in Whittier and rarely missed a Sunday.
We will always remember Colleen's big heart and generosity, her beautiful smile, her sense of style and love for haute couture.

She is survived by her sons Larry Tan, Lance Tan; grandson Tyler Tan and siblings Leslie, Dolly, Dawn, Rose and Tony.



To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Colleen Tan, please visit our flower store.

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