Jimmy G. S. Ong’s Chinese names, Gin and Silk, mean “to build” and “rock,” respectively. The youngest of six siblings, Jimmy was born in Sacramento, CA. He believed that his father named him correctly – building on solid ground.
As a young man, Jimmy earned an AA degree in Business and General Education from Sacramento City College and a BA degree from Sacramento State University, majoring in accounting and economics. He went on to get an MBA from Golden Gate University in San Francisco.
Throughout his career, Jimmy held many jobs as an educator, teaching elementary and junior high school in several places, including Los Angeles and Hawaii. Later, he taught accounting, business math, and real estate courses at Chabot Community College until his retirement. He also became certified as a Real Estate Appraiser, Journeyman Carpenter, and Real Estate Broker.
Jimmy travelled extensively. He took several trips to China and visited places such as Vietnam, Canada, Alaska, and Mexico. He even took a 90-day tour of Europe with friends.
But Jimmy met the love of his life closer to home, in Berkeley, CA. He had come there to teach elementary school. According to Jimmy, the best day of his life was the day he married Muriel.
Together, they raised four dogs – Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, and Lady MacBeth. Those dogs were their children. Jimmy’s love of music is evident in some of their names. He also enjoyed woodworking. He made all sorts of things, including a bookshelf, cabinets, and whatever Muriel asked for.
But in 2014, everything changed. Jimmy was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer and died that same year. He left behind his wife of 48 years, Muriel H. C. Ong, and countless others who were touched by him.
But that is not the end of Jimmy’s story. Jimmy believed in research for the future, for other people who will develop cancer after him. He wrote in his will and trust that a portion of his estate should go toward research to prevent cancer and to help people live longer after diagnosis. Jimmy’s time between his own cancer diagnosis and death was brief. He did not want that same fate for others. “I’m doing this, so the next generation won’t have to,” he said.
Thanks to Jimmy’s generosity, the Institute has established the Jimmy G. S. Ong Memorial Fund for Cancer Research. Money from this fund will be used to support cancer research each year. According to Jimmy, “I know what the AICR is doing will prolong many people’s lives.”
We are so grateful to Jimmy for making this lasting gift to support cancer research and to Muriel for sharing his story.
More Stories of Impact
Share your Story
If you share our passion for cancer prevention and quality survivorship, we would love to hear from you. Whatever your experience has been — whether you are a patient, caregiver, or loved one — AICR would be happy to add your story to this tapestry.