Betty Yit Sim Wong Young '37 was the first daughter and second child of Lin and Ella Wong. She was born on April 18, 1919 and passed away on September 02, 2020 in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. She grew up in Palama along with her three sisters (Eunice, Norah, and Cynthia) and seven brothers (Lloyd, Wayne, Stan, Alton, Euton, Albert, and Reuben). She had many memories of celebrations in her Palama home courtyard with extended family and friends.
With assistance of Betty’s aunt and older brother Lloyd, Betty was able to attend St. Andrew’s Priory School, where she graduated in 1937. She also attended Hoo Cho Chinese School in 1938 and ended up teaching Kindergarten there after her high school graduation. While teaching, Betty attended the Wolf School of Design, where she loved designing Hawaiian clothing – many of them awarded for their beauty and creativity.
As the oldest girl in her large family, Betty took on many jobs to support her family, including working for the U.S. Army Engineering Division during the war. Towards the end of the war, she was invited to a house party where she met a soldier named Wallace (Wally). They were married soon after on November 04, 1945 at Central Union Church, where Betty designed and sewed her own wedding gown as well as all of her bridesmaids’ gowns.
In 1948, Betty and Wally owned and operated Waikiki Delicatessen & Bakery, which eventually changed to Waikiki Beach Liquor & Grocery in 1950. All while managing the store with Wally, Betty also owned and operated her own shop in Waikiki called Betty Lace, where she sewed Hawaiian attire and other fashionable clothing. As a couple of many trades, Betty and Wally opened American Stereo Hawaii in 1962 and closed Waikiki Beach Liquor & Grocery in 1970. American Stereo Hawaii was in operation for over 20 years, closing in 2004 upon Betty and Willy’s retirements.
Living to 101 years of age, Betty had a life full of memories created with her family and friends. She was an entrepreneur, designer, sister, mom, aunt, grandma, and great-grandma to generations after her. She is survived by her five children (Christabel (Francis) May, Almira (Ben) Chow, Lyman, Laban (Clara) and Sharilyn (Darrell) Hathcock), nine grandchildren (Jeannie, Orleen, Tracy, Yvan, Bradley, Justin, Jessica, Stacy, and Jennifer), and eight great-grandchildren (Olivia, Serena, Addison, Abagayle, Nathan, Kenzie, Teagan, and Keanu).
Betty was buried at Manoa Chinese Cemetery on September 18, 2020 with a private gravesite ceremony and is now at peace with her late-husband, Wally. Mahalo nui loa to the Wong ʻOhana for establishing the Betty Wong Young ’37 Memorial Fund at St. Andrew’s Schools. This fund will memorialize Betty Wong Young, whose love for family, strong work ethic, and positive attitude will be dearly missed by all.