Irene Eleanor Lum Diu Dang
January 10, 1922 October 26, 2005
Loretta's dear mom Irene Dang died of pancreatic cancer on October 26, 2005. Robert, Loretta, Daryl (Irene's oldest son) and his wife Nita were all with her when she took her final breath at 9:54 a.m. We were holding her hand when she left us.
She fell ill at home and was taken to the hospital on September 19. They did some testing and found the cancer three days later. The doctors told us that when pancreatic cancer shows its signs, it is usually in its advanced stages, too late for surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
We brought Irene home for Hospice care after she was in the hospital for 8 days. The doctor told us that she had less than 6 months to live, but the oncology nurse didn't think mom had more than 3 weeks to live. Well, she beat the odds and lived 4-1/2 weeks after coming home.
It was difficult for us to do homecare for Irene, but we were very appreciative of the help that Ann, Robert's mom, gave to us by feeding Irene and staying with her for hours on end. The Hospice nurse came for checkups, an aide gave her baths three times a week, counselors talked to us and volunteers came in 4 hours a week to sit with Irene.
Daryl, Nita, Vincent and Shirley all came down from Ferndale, Washington and Vancouver, Canada to help out. They cleaned Irene's room, painted it sky blue (her favorite color) and got it ready for the hospital bed. We were grateful that all of her children, their spouses and all of her grandchildren (and great-granddaughter) came to help, visit and to say their last goodbyes.
Irene also had time to call family and friends in Hawaii in the final 4-1/2 weeks of her life.
Claudia & Sonny donated use of their motor home for visitors.
It was Irene's wish that her body be buried with her husband, John Dang, at Punchbowl, The National Cemetery of the Pacific, in Honolulu, Hawaii.
On November 1, all three of her children, their spouses, all six grandchildren and one great-grandchild took her back to be laid to rest. The family stayed in Hawaii for a week.
Because Irene knew so many people in many different places, we had memorial services in Eugene, Oregon, in Honolulu, Hawaii and in Ferndale, Washington. All memorial services took place at Senior Centers.
A beautiful remembrance was written by her favorite bus driver, Dick Ellis, which we shared at each of the three memorial services. She had a special friendship with Dick: she accompanied him to company picnics, went to eat at Chinese restaurants with him, and often rode his bus. It was a very touching memoir to her, and is posted below.
The house seems
empty without Irene. Those little things she did and the ways about
her we just miss so much. She lived with us for 18 years. We love you
mom and may you rest in peace.
She was born Jan. 10, 1922, in Kula, Maui, Hawaii, to Chung Lum and Lun Wong and was adopted by Maria "Ganny" Diu.
She married John Dang on June 29, 1946. He died Aug. 19, 1987.
She attended Keaoho Elementary School through the seventh grade.
A homemaker, Dang had lived in Eugene for 12 years. She enjoyed dancing the hula, attending activities at the Willamalane Adult Activity Center, riding the bus and making new friends.
Survivors include a daughter, Loretta (Robert) Bike of Eugene; two sons, Daryl (Nita) of Ferndale, Wash., and Vincent (Shirley) of Vancouver, B.C.; a brother, Harold Lum of Honolulu; a sister, Beatrice Chong of Honolulu; six grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
Today's service will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Willamalane Adult Activity Center in Springfield. Lane Memorial Gardens & Funeral Home in Eugene is in charge of arrangements.
Thoughts of Irene
As I drove into the LTD Eugene Station this morning I suddenly realized there was a void, an emptiness because Irene wouldn't be getting on my bus. I began to look for her, she was always easy to spot with her handbag and another bag or two filled with love offerings of food for bus drivers.
She was like a mother to me, she knew my mother lived in Minnesota and sensed I had a need.
I told her she didn't have to bring me food, but she would not hear otherwise. How could anyone argue with King's Hawaiian Bread? And if I did protest she would give me a loving but firm tap with her hand always delivered with her trademark smile, a smile you could never forget, one that would instantly light up your life.
I remember so many things about Irene: Hawaiian songs she would hum and sing so softly on the bus (they relaxed me), stories about Maui, the accident with the truck in the pineapple field and others about growing up in Kula. Irene would talk of the flowers of Hawaii, about her Chinese and Hawaiian roots with Portuguese ties and about her husband and three children that she so dearly loved.
We talked about where she was on December 7th, 1941.
Irene loved Bible study and had a hunger for God's word. We shared scripture occasionally, she would ask me to.
I got a kick out of the box lunches she would bring me from the Senior Center, ones she didn't eat. Meat, potatoes, gravy and all the trimmings. Potatoes and gravy are not bus-compatible foods, meaning they're hard to eat when you're driving. I never let her know that and tried to eat most everything.
Oh by the way, someone told me she had a weakness for maple bars, but I never saw her eat one.
Irene was loved by many bus drivers, we will miss her.
Her heart was so big, she was driven by genuine love and compassion for people with such sweet kindness. With Irene you could truly feel the love, as the expression goes.
Irene has given me a special connection with Hawaii.
She was and always will be my favorite bus rider, but much more than that she became a real friend and has enriched my life wonderfully. I am blessed to know her.
I thought of Irene as I read 1 Thessalonians 1:3: "We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ."
Irene's life was a joyful labor of love.
Irene was the last of 15 children. She was a twin. Her mother died in childbirth. She was adopted by a Portugese family that had four childrenone son and three daughters.
In her early years, she liked music and spelling. She liked shooting marbles and playing jacks. In elementary school, she liked to work in the cafeteria, as the family was poor, and she could get free meals.
Her family was so poor that they couldn't afford to get her a doll. Ganny, her adoptive mother, worked as a housekeeper in a wealthy household. Ganny's boss gave Irene a doll, which she cherished. In her later years, she had a doll collection in memory of that treasured doll.
In her adolescent years, she helped her future husband's older sister raise six children, washing and folding diapers and clothes for $1.50 in candy.
She said that her proudest moments were caretaking her adoptive mother in her final years of life, and motherhood.