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Audio clip of an interview with Kenneth Fong by Lois goodall on February 22, 2014

Audio file

Audio file
Download ward1ohr0011.mp3 (audio/mpeg; 4.43 MB)






Kenneth Fong reflects on growing up in Las Vegas and being the son of two successful and philanthropic community members, Wing and Lilly Fong. When Ken was born the family live in a modest home on 20th and Stewart. It was a close-knit neighborhood and era, kids played tag and roamed freely. When he entered third-grade, his parents moved their family to a newer subdivision near Rancho and West Charleston Avenue: the Scotch 80s. Their new custom home on Silver Avenue reflected Asian architecture and the family’s Chinese cultural heritage; it also included a pool and a small basketball court. Memories of the neighborhoods are distinct. He learned to be comfortable with his sister and he being the only Asian Americans in school at the time. He kept busy with community volunteering at Sunrise Hospital and tutoring younger children on the Westside among other high school activities. Ken speaks lovingly of his parents and their achievements, family outings to local venues such as Mount Charleston and Red Rock and to California, where they bought Chinese baked goods. His mother, Lilly was born into a large Chinese American family of ten children, each of whom achieved a college education. After her marriage to Wing, she moved to Las Vegas with plans to work as a teacher. Ken retells the story of her encounter with discrimination and overcoming that, and her trajectory to be the first Asian American elected the Nevada Board of Regents. His orphaned father, Wing, immigrated to the United Sates in 1939 to live with uncles. They worked as cooks in Las Vegas and established the first Las Vegas Chinese restaurant, Silver Café. Wing was merely thirteen years old and spoke no English. These were not to be obstacles. He would go on to graduate from Las Vegas High School, earn a college degree in business, have a successful career in commercial real estate and banking, building the notable Fong’s Garden. Ken calls his father his most influential mentor. Today Ken is also a successful in real estate management, active at Grace Presbyterian Church, involved in Rotary Club, and a proud father of two daughters.

Digital ID



Kenneth W. Fong oral history interview, 2014 February 22. OH-00593. [Audio recording]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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