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Personal Glimpse of the Asparagus King

December 3, 2016 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Who is the Asparagus King?

As a granddaughter, Sylvia Sun Minnick was more than two decades too late to meet her grandfather Thomas Foon Chew. People said he left a decided mark on the Chinese communities in northern California, more particularly San Francisco and San Jose. What type of a person was he? Did he live the life of the stereotypical hard-working, frugal Chinatown merchant or was he an entrepreneur who would have stepped out of the so-called Chinatown “box”? How extensive was his influence when even the mayors and other dignitaries of San Francisco and San Jose attend his funeral? Questions led to more questions and an eventual comparison.

The search for Thomas Foon Chew became an integral segment of Sylvia’s book Never a Burnt Bridge: A Personal Memoir.



Meet Sylvia Sun Minnick at the CHSA Learning Center on December 3 at 1pm. This presentation is free with museum admission. You may purchase museum admission on Eventbrite here >>

About the speaker

Sylvia Sun Minnick family’s connection to California reaches many generations from her great grandfather who emigrated from China in 1869, her grandmother born in Oakland in 1889, and her mother in Alviso in 1912. Minnick received her B.A. and M.A. in History at the California State University of Sacramento. She has been a research historian, author, educator, and publisher. She retired as a California State employee working for departments such as Caltrans, Corrections, Parks & Recreation and ending her career at the State as Assistant Director of Aging. Minnick is an author of the following books: the critically-acclaimed SAMFOW: The San Joaquin Chinese Legacy; Stockton’s Chinese Community and Stockton Crown Jewel: The Bob Hope/Fox California, and her latest novel Never a Burnt Bridge: A Personal Memoir. She is the first Asian American woman to be elected to Stockton’s City Council, the first female president of the all-male Chinese Benevolent Association of Stockton, and has been recognized with the Stockton Chinese Citizen of the Year award in 2000.


December 3, 2016
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
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