Lucia Jane Wilson passed away on May 23 and the Twin Cities Chinese community lost its dear “Aunt Jane.” Jane Wilson became involved with the Chinese community when she volunteered to be a Chinese Sunday School teacher at Westminster Presbyterian Church in 1946. Wilson taught and befriended many Chinese war brides in her time at Westminster. She nurtured these friendships for over 40 years after the Sunday School closed. Because of the support, care and compassion Aunt Jane showed the Chinese community for over 60 years, she was named an honorary Chinese Minnesotan of Note in 2010 by the Chinese Heritage Foundation and the story of her involvement in the Twin Cities Chinese community was featured in the September 2010 issue of China Insight. The article is reprinted here along with her obituary.
By the Advisory Committee of the Chinese Heritage Foundation, with Sherri Gebert-Fuller of the Minnesota Historical Society
For many years following World War II, Jane Wilson was the superintendent of the Chinese Sunday School at Westminster Presbyterian Church in downtown Minneapolis.
Westminster had a long history of involvement with Chinese immigrants in the Twin Cities. Dating back to 1882 when the first Chinese men started arriving in Minnesota, the men of the Westminster congregation had responded promptly to their needs: help in language and business skills. During the 1920s as a few Chinese women began to arrive, the women at Westminster got involved and organized a Chinese Sunday School for them and their children. The School met on Sunday afternoons after the morning church service. In addition to regular Sunday School teachings, the teachers taught English and other social skills. Soon it became a tradition for subsequent Chinese immigrants to send their families to the Westminster Chinese Sunday School.
By Mary Warpeha, US – China Peoples Friendship Association - Minnesota Chapter Co-President
Several years ago, my son Dan made a service call to Jack Weatherford. While waiting for the computer to accept his repairs, Dan visited with Mr. Weatherford and his wife Walker Pierce mentioning that I had read several of his books. It is true, and here is where my story begins.
Yes, my Book Club of 30+ years read several of the Macalester College professor’s cultural anthropology studies and yes, we liked them. In the weeks following Dan’s visit, Mr. Weatherford graciously invited my family to tea and talk in his condo on Cathedral Hill in St. Paul. We discussed China, Mongolia, travels and writing. Recently we had rented a NetFlix film Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan and agreed somewhat sheepishly that the story as it was portrayed was new to us. In the conversation, we were to learn that in 2004 Weatherford had published Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World and that he had consulted on the film Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan and that he was excited about the next publication The Secret History of the Mongol Queens.
Joan Brzezinski has been named executive director of the University’s China Center and Confucius Institute. Joan has been the interim director of the China Center while serving in her permanent position as director of the Confucius Institute. In this new position as executive director, she will oversee all projects and programming within both the China Center and Confucius Institute, including fundraising for China initiatives and identifying opportunities to expand the University system's relationships in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
Immediately upon meeting Brenda Fong, you will discover that you will receive much more than you give in any exchange. "Minnesota is home…" says Brenda. However, she still fondly remembers growing up in Kwonloon and Hong Kong.