Community celebrates life of Wilma Chan at memorial

More than a month after Wilma Chan’s death, a memorial was held Wednesday to remember the legacy that she left behind.

Hundreds of people gathered under a gloomy sky in the garden at the Oakland Museum of California to honor the 30 years that she devoted to public service.

"She left a mark on my heart and every time I see her photo in the chambers my heart really, really does flutter," said Richard Valle, a member of the Alameda Co. Board of Supervisors.

Among the friends & colleagues were Chan’s children Jennifer and Daren who shared that their mom devoted as much to rising them as she did to her life as a public servant.

"There was most definitely a clear distinction between her as a board member, supervisor and Assemblywoman Wilma Chan and as a mom," said daughter Jennifer.

Wilma Chan died after being struck by a vehicle while walking her dog along Shoreline Drive and Grand Street in Alameda on Nov. 3.

A line of colleagues and friends listed off her accomplishments that often involved giving a voice to those in her community without one.

SEE ALSO: RIP Wilma Chan: 1st Asian-American Alameda Co. supervisor, majority leader

Dave Brown, Alameda Co. Supervisor, says what stands out to him about Chan is a part of her personality that a lot of people didn’t get to see.

"She has this thing where anytime something good happens, she’ll be in her office and go, ‘Yipee!’ and that was her," Brown said.

Chan was known as a political heavyweight, pursuing her beliefs with passion

Decades of experience led Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin to seek her council to save a hospital in his city citing a deal she brokered in 20-13 that saved San Leandro Hospital from closure.

"So she was an advisor to us and just had a lot of credible knowledge, perspective and, strategy about how we can preserve emergency care. How we can prioritize healthcare," said Arreguín.

Leadership and integrity were words often used at the memorial to describe Chan’s long, distinguished professional life.

Since her passing, the Board of Supervisors and non-profit Vision Alameda County established a Supervisor Wilma Chan Legacy Fund that is not collecting donations to will be put toward grants for local non-profits and programs.

Supervisor Wilma Chan Legacy Fund