October 12, 2009

Visiting Mrs. Mary Hoover's Grave in Perth

I had the opportunity to make a visit to Mrs. Mary Hoover's grave in Perth last week. And by coincidence I was putting up with my husband's old school friend Timothy Liaw (from Lawas and Tanjong Lobang School) and his wife Pat. We came to talk about the Methodist Church. Lo and behold he knew a man who often took Foochows from Sibu to visit Mrs. Hoover's grave.

When you pray hard enough God grants your heart's desires.

So on a bright Saturday morning I went to Karrakatta All Denomination Cemetery with Alan Smith (a friend off all Borneo students) and he showed me the exact grave site and told me stories about the last few years of Mrs. Hoover's life in Perth. He was just a small child then but he remembers the late Mr. Lau Tieng Sing (my former Principal of the Methodist Secondary School Sibu) and the late Mr.William Hsu. He has also met up with many of Mrs. Hoover's former students from Sibu over the years. He has visited Sibu Wesley Church and has met up with most of my friends like Judy Wong and Dolly Chong and her mother Mrs. CC Chong.

I am wondering if she has a smile when I gave her three Foochow bows from the third generation of a Tiong Kung Ping family she knew so well in her 45 years in Sibu!! Many of my aunts and my grand aunt (Yuk Ging) went to her school: the Yuk Ying Girls' School. The boys went to the English boys' school.

The late Mr.Lau Tieng Sing studied in Perth and went to help Mrs. Hoover during the weekends to buy groceries for her and to help her turn her bed. Mr. Lau's mother was a former student of Mrs. Hoover. Not long after that Mrs. Hoover passed away in her sleep and many in Sibu mourned her death on 3rd August 1962.

She left Sibu sadly according to my aunts. And the Yuk Ying Girls School and the Methodist Boys School were reorganised to become the Methodist Primary and Secondary Schools in 1949. We must never forget that this couple had done so much for the education and development of Sibu and its people.

She taught in Singapore for a short while after having visited Sibu for the last time immediately after the War (with Rev McGraw and Ding Lik Kiu) but returned to Singapore to teach in a kindergarten. Later she moved to Perth where she had a brother.

Rev and Mrs. Hoover were childless. But they had a god-son Ding Lik Kiu from Sibu.
It was also around the time of her death that the late Dr. Ding Lik Kiu then a very famous medical doctor left Kapit Christ Hospital to work in Hong Kong which became his home until his wife Dr. Lilian became very sick and had to return to California for treatment. Dr. Ding Lik Kiu passed away recently.

The road signs to the cemetery.

Mrs. Hoover is resting near this tree covered road which reminds me of Aman Road in Sibu.

Below : Timothy Liaw - who calls himself an Old Methodist from Sarikei Church. He was the Divisional Engineer then. On the right is Alan Smith who has been to Sibu several times. Alan was most resourceful. He downloaded information for me and made an appointment with us the very next day after Timothy's phone call.

The letterings are falling out and it is also time to renew the gravesite (02/07/2012). Perhaps our SCAC already knows about the expiry date.

More information can be found here: http://www.mcb.wa.gov.au/NameSearch/details.php?id=KB00119885 There is also a photo service facility.


Anonymous said...

Dear Cikgu
I think these Chinese students must have loved their teacher very much.

Never have I seen this!!


Sarawakiana@2 said...

Usually tombstones are erected by family only. However when a beloved teacher passes away her students can pay a tribute.

This is a good one from Sibu Foochows where Mrs. Hoover spent 45 years as a teacher. She impacted and inspired so many people. She also saved many girls from disastrous marriages too. She and her husband believed that girls must be educated and that was in the 1900's

pck said...

I always have the highest respect for people like James and Mary Hoovers, Mother Teresa, Zhou Enlai and Sun Yat-sen, who came to this world and lived their lives not for themselves but for others. Rev James Hoover died in Kuching in 1935 and was buried at the Anglican cemetery behind the St Thomas's School. Shortly after the death of her husband, Mary Hoover left Sibu to teach in a Methodist kindergarten in Singapore. In 1941 she moved to Perth to stay with her brother and died in 1962.
Great to see that Timothy still looks almost as young as I last saw him more than a decade ago in Limbang! Has he been ‘promoted’ to grandparent?

Sarawakiana@2 said...


Yes he and Pat have a grand daughter now...are you in touch with him?

I am so touched by your writing to me. Thanks.

Now I know. No wonder there is the inscription "dear sister" I reckoned it was for church sister.

When did she move to Perth?


Peter Yong said...

Dedication, love and patience impact lives

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Thanks Peter for visiting this page....

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