Tan Lo as a teenager worked for OR&L. He worked his way up and became the head bookkeeper for the Dillingham family who owned Oahu Rail and Land Company.
Today is a very special day for many reasons. Today, we celebrate being a Lo, belonging to a family that is very outstanding, impressive and SUCCESSFUL.
Our annual baisan event helps keep our family together. Thanks to Char for taking the initiative to plan and organize all our Lo events. And to all the many cousins who spent time together to fold all gum nan. We cannot do without you. YOU are an integral part of the Lo’s.
Normally, Ken would be standing here telling you all about our ancestors. But, it is with his enthusiasm, time and interest in learning more about our family tree, that has spurred and motivated me to take ownership and responsibility of who I am!
It was just last week Sunday, on Easter, that my brothers and their wives revisited the Nehoa Street property. It was fun to go back to the home where we grew up, our very first home. It brought back lots of nice memories of our neighbor “Aloha Pants,” the built in wooden ironing board that was LP Gung’s place, the old telephone room with it’s old fashion crank phone and a room full of Chinese artwork… On and on it goes. Entering the bathroom i could still smell the scents of yok jow and Tiger balm medicines!
Today, I would like to give you a brief summary of our famous Lo ancestors.
We are very fortunate to have written documents of our Lo family tree that goes back over 175 generations.
Therein lies the wealth of information about our ancestors who were distinguished and important citizens and governmental leaders.
Long ago many ancestral tombs were built in their honor, some very near to the capitol.
A member of the 61st generation was granted an official administrative post in the county of Lo and was of such high rank and service that the family was granted the name "Lo."
In the 91st generation another was granted nobility for his meritorious service to China.
Ancestral lines which began in the 150th generation produced several descendants who were prominent scholars and achieved highest ranking in the imperial civil service exam during the Ming dynasty which lasted from about 1366 to 1666. They held prominent governmental posts.
One descendant at 35 years of age reached the highest level status in the imperial examination and though he died in his 40s there was a temple erected later in his honor.
Another was a cabinet minister, one of six just below the emperor. He held the title of Highest Ranking Scholar and teacher of the prince. There is a brush painting of him online in the Chinese search engine, like Google.
There were other lines which also produced two other highest ranking scholars during the dynasty and served with distinction.
Although this was a long, long time ago, I believe that this sense of being educated and being a scholar still exists in our family today.
More recently and connected to Hawaii is a son of great grandfather Lo Den Kui who was the first to come to Hawaii. His name is Lo Chong. He grew up in the same extended family household as Tan Lo. He was educated in Hawaii, Japan and Oxford, England. For this he was given the title of jinshi and would have been eligible to sit for the palace exam which was the highest level had it continued. He was an administrator in the imperial government of the Ching dynasty and the early Republic of China’s government. He served in the foreign service and held the position as consul general to Great Britain, among other posts. He later became a professor of languages at a University in China.
His son who was a contemporary of our parents was a distinguished professor of Chinese history at the U of California, Davis. His name is Jung Pang Lo.
Tan Lo, our Gung Gung, although only a McKinley high school student, won the confidence of the distinguished Dillingham family at the Oahu Railway and Land Company. From a teenage clerk he worked his way up the corporate ladder and became their chief bookkeeper and accountant of the company.
His children who are our mothers and fathers are ALL college graduates were well known in their respective fields. Uncle Don who helped to build our present state capitol. Uncle Shangie who not only was a UH basketball player but also a well known psychiatrist. Uncle Richard was an attorney graduating from Michigan and a principal partner in his law firm. And of course, our dad, William, who at an early age managed the family business, Aala Park Inn. There is a letter from Tan Lo indicating that he was very grateful that Willy was able to continue working for him as he retired because of his health. It seems that Aala Park did quite well financially and that helped to put the boys through college and graduate school. Aunty Dede had a scholarship to Mills College and became a medical tech. Aunty Ethel was a elementary school teacher and a keeper of all family contacts.
And we can see by just looking around this room that our cousins and their children are also carrying on the LO tradition of making a name for themselves in their respective careers.
To have such a legacy in our genealogy is priceless in giving us a sense of who we are and what we can do judging from the kind of people who were our ancestors.
It is only fitting for us to remember them by celebrating the custom of Ching Ming when we pay respect to our ancestors.