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Connie Fong Joe (Plainview)

February 10, 1947 — August 6, 2023

Connie Fong Joe (Plainview)

Connie Fong Joe was born on February 10, 1947, in a little village in Guangzhou, China. She died all too early, at home in Plainview Sunday morning, August 9, 2023. Graveside services will be held at 10:00 A.M. August 11, 2023 in Plainview Memorial Park. A visitation will be held from 6-8 P.M. on Thursday, August 10, 2023 at the funeral home. Connie spent her childhood under a lychee tree in Hoiping, the tiny village in southern China where she was born. When Connie was 8 years old, her mother took her and little sister Lily to Hong Kong in search of a better life with more opportunities. The lived in a 6-story building on the 3rd floor with their paternal grandparents, who always rented out 2 of the rooms to boarders. Their mother worked in a factory as a seamstress and Connie sewed at home to help earn money. Little lily would carry the garments Connie completed back to the factory and collect payment. As they grew, the sisters talked as they walked to school, or rode the bus, and went to movies when they had some extra money. They both attended Tai Tung High School. In Hong Kong, Connie experienced big-city life. She became a beautiful teenager with a taste for the Beatles, mod skirts, and American cinema. She enthusiastically learned English with a British accent. She loved JFK, Jackie O, and Cary Grant. She was primed to be swept off her feet when a tall Texan showed up in Hong Kong in 1965. She happily agreed to marry Tom Fred Joe and move to the Land of Hollywood and Madison Avenue. He took her to Amarillo. When she arrived, she was startled. Tom, a native Texan, couldn’t help but brag about his home state to his fiancee. His wife, however, was a little shocked at arriving into a scene from Hud and not An Affair to Remember. She became accustomed to the nocturnal silence of the Plains as she stopped yearning for the din of Hong Kong nightlife. Surrounded by the warm welcome of her husband’s family, she quickly overcame her culture shock and fell in love with Texas. She proudly became a certified Texan and soon began her lifelong education as a restaurateur in the Joe family’s cafe. Shortly after that, Connie and Tom had a baby boy and she began her other lifelong career — super-mom. In 1971, the family moved to Plainview and had a daughter. There, they opened the Far East Restaurant, an endeavor that lasted more than 40 years. She taught generations of young Plainviewans how to use chopsticks and happily discussed Chinese culture to anyone who asked. She loved connecting with her customers as they became true friends over the many decades. She bounced babies so their tired mothers could eat dinner. And years later, she’d bounce the babies’ babies. Her roots were purely Chinese but her spirit was All-American. She valued the core tenets of Chinese tradition and fully embraced the American spirit. She valued family, community, and ancestral wisdom. She also valued knowledge. She was a pro at turning knowledge into wisdom and was a passionate advocate of education for all. Connie’s life was an homage to freedom of both body and mind. She was an avid reader and had a great eye for beauty. She loved plants and art in all forms (classical Chinese opera and American basketball, to name two). She also loved to crunch numbers and analyze the stock market. She was a wonderful mix of contradictions and managed to merge the two worlds into one tiny elegant package. Connie is survived by her husband, Tom; son, Fred, daughter-in-law Su Yim and granddaughter Madelyn Joe of Portland, Ore.; daughter, Kim, son-in-law Chris of Dallas; her sister, Lily Fong and brother-in-law Johnny Fong of Portland, Ore., and three brothers-in-law in Texas. Connie would like to say thank y’all for the hospitality and don’t be a stranger. She promises to greet you again someday. She’ll meet you at the door with a smile, a hot plate, and as much wisdom as you can handle.
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