Obituary of Amy Seto
An angel has been sent to heaven to be with her late husband, Nay Sen Seto. Now together they will watch over the rest of us. It is with heavy hearts that we share with you the passing of Amy Seto (Shun Tao Ng,1936-2022) in her 86th year. She passed away peacefully on Tues. March 22, 2022 at The Meadows nursing home in Ancaster, Ontario, surrounded by her loving family. Beloved wife of the late Nay Sen, Amy will be deeply missed by her daughters Jenny (Ron) Seto-Vanderlip, Cindi (Mario) Seto-Domanico, and son Scott (Donica) Seto, her grandchildren, Matthew (Shannon) Vanderlip, Taylor (Maeva) Vanderlip, Brittany (Kosta) Vanderlip, Carly Domanico, Nikki Domanico and Ciara Seto, and her great-granddaughters, Elise Vanderlip and Nora Vanderlip. They will miss their Popo dearly.
Amy will also be sincerely missed and remembered by her many surviving sisters and brother, nieces and nephews in Hong Kong, Denver and California, and many other relatives in Toronto and St. Catharines.
Amy was born in Hong Kong in 1936. She immigrated to Canada in January 1960 to marry the love of her life, Nay Sen. Together they would work many years in their family restaurant business, The Maple Leaf Cafe (St. Catharines) and Club 19 (Niagara on the Lake). They later moved on to work with relatives in Fort Erie and Niagara Falls.
Amy spent the last 7 years at The Meadows nursing home in Ancaster where she was well taken care of by the amazing staff. There, even though she was dependent on others for care, she continued to make everyone around her smile. The family extends their deepest gratitude to the nurses, PSWs, the support staff and The Meadows administration for making the last 7 years of her life comfortable and enjoyable.
Amy enjoyed time with her children and had the opportunity to travel with them to many places around the world. Most of all she looked forward to the visits from her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She loved to cook for them and made the best Cantonese chow mein, beef and green beans and waffles.
Amy will always be remembered for her strength, selflessness, an enormously kind heart and her care for others. We can only hope to become the amazingly strong person that she was. It’s no wonder she was the favourite aunt, Popo, sister, cousin and friend. Amy’s time on earth was a gift to all of us. We will miss her dearly.
Memorial donations can be made to the Cancer Society or the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Family and friends will be received at the George Darte Funeral Chapel and Cremation Centre, 585 Carlton St., St. Catharines 905-937-4444 on Friday, March 25th from 11:30 to 1:30pm.
A Celebration of Life will follow in the Ceremony Room of the Funeral Home at 1:30pm
To view Amy's Celebration of Life, use the following link https://youtu.be/y6DsXd9GyGU
Hello. Thank you all for coming to celebrate the life of Amy, Shun Tao, Seto. My name is Matthew Vanderlip and I am Jenny’s son. Amy is my Popo. Popo met the love of her life Nay Sen, Gung-gung, through a mutual friend. Letters were exchanged and in the late 50's she decided to leave Hong Kong and take a chance at a new life with Gung-gung in Canada. Leaving behind her parents, 8 siblings and a career as a school teacher required a lot of courage but she made the leap. When she arrived in Canada she enrolled in English classes and worked at the Maple Leaf Cafe, a family-run business. In January 1960 Popo and Gung-gung married. My mom Jenny arrived at the end of the year with Cindi to follow 3 years later and Scott 11 years after that. A boy to carry on the Seto name. In 1972, Popo & Gung-gung became the proud owners of Club 19, a restaurant in Niagara on the Lake that served Chinese and Canadian food. They both worked very long hours. Popo was the front of the house and Gung-gung the back. Jenny and Cindi worked the very busy summers to help their parents, even though I am sure they would have rather been out with friends. Their cousin Vicki, who was only 4 yrs old at the time fondly remembers "washing dishes" with Cindi and at the end of the day, Popo coming by to "pay" her $2.00, a coke at the fountain machine and a choice of chocolate bars. These small gestures were some of the kind things Popo did for her family and provided a little girl with a life long memory. Even though they worked so hard they also made the time to take their family on vacations. The Expo in 1969 in Montreal, Fantasy Island in Niagara Falls and in 1977 a 3 week trip to London England and Hong Kong to visit relatives. And by the way, this last trip spared them the Blizzard of 1977 - how was that for timing. These memories will stay with their children forever. In the 80's they moved to St.Catharines on Bunting Rd. My mom told me that at the time she thought the house was HUGE! And was a sign that they had made it, thanks to her parents' hard work. Popo lived through many physical hardships but each time she would fight her way to good health. Never complaining, and always eager to carry on with life. Gung-gung passed away in November 2000. I can remember going to visit afterwards. His favourite chair sat empty in the living room - a physical manifestation of the hole in all of our hearts. As time went on, Popo was able to enjoy traveling again with Cindi & Jenny. Going everywhere from New York City to the Caribbean to her husband's ancestral village in Hoiping China. Popo was also a bit of a mahjong shark. She often had cousins and local ladies in her home for dinner and long evenings of mahjong! In 2015 Popo had a bad fall in her home. She survived, fighting against all odds, but was confined to a wheelchair. Popo's tough character was able to pull her through this difficult time. She spent the next 7 years at The Meadows nursing home in Ancaster. Once again our Popo defied the odds and after 3 years was able to move her left hand and eat at a table with other residents. Our thanks to all the PSWs, Nurses and staff at The Meadows who took great care of her. So you see how tough our Popo was..... but there was another side to her. She was hardworking, selfless, kind and loved her family. She encouraged her children to work hard, get a good job and find loving and caring partners which all three of them have been fortunate enough to have done. Her children have also given her six grandchildren; myself, Taylor, Brittany, Carly, Nikki, and Ciara, and even two great grandchildren, my daughters Elise and Nora. My wife Shannon and I are so grateful Popo was able to meet both Elise and Nora. On both occasions her eyes lit up with joy and pride, even insisting to hold Elise despite her limited mobility. We gave Elise the middle name Tao to honour Popo, or Tie-Po to her. For me, Popo was always an idol. A matriarch. She preferred to speak to me and my siblings in Chinese, and although we didn’t understand the language, we always knew what she meant. We visited frequently. Always looking forward to enjoying a delicious home-cooked meal. Popo’s chow mein was second to none, and she always had fried bread to accompany the jook she would make. She was the embodiment of strength. I always marveled at her resilience and ability to shrug off life’s toughest challenges without ever complaining. Popo would frequently offer financial advice to us as children and young adults, advising us to save our money. I recall her disapproval when I excitedly told her I got a Mustang as my first car. “Ayeaaa! Waste of money” she would say. And also the pride when I told her I had bought my first house. Her response? Simply “Very good”. I can remember being on vacation with Popo in Florida. We were at a souvenir shop in Old Town and Popo was buying a tee-shirt. The tee-shirt was $15. She confidently walked up to the shopkeeper and offered him $8. Imagine the shocked look in the shopkeeper’s face. This was not an establishment accustomed to negotiating prices. “No, it’s $15” he told her firmly. I was filled with surprise and wonder as I watched Popo stick to her guns - going back and forth with him, and eventually emerging from that souvenir shop with a $10 tee-shirt. I learned an important lesson that day. Never negotiate against a Chinese woman. I like to think that she passed some of that strength on to each of us. Here are a few memories her family would like to share about Popo......... Dad: My father, Ron, recalls phoning the Seto home in Spring 1977 and asking for Jenny over the phone. Gunggung answered and said " Jenny, NO HOME", then click. Next time he phoned he got lucky. Popo answered and life began a great journey with Jenny and her family. Popo was always welcoming. They invited my dad in for dinner or took him to Chinatown in Toronto, where he was introduced to real Chinese food. Popo always stayed within reach of my dad, personally serving the food brought to the table and to make sure he was comfortable. She made my dad try everything, and soon learned what he liked most and made sure it was ordered the next time out. When my parents talked about getting engaged, Popo to the rescue. She had friends that owned a jewelry store in Buffalo NY and she smuggled a handful of diamonds home for them to pick the right one. Later, they would all go to Buffalo to match the diamond to the ring where my dad made the purchase after Popo worked her magic. Her family values and negotiating skills have carried on through her children and grandchildren. She always got the best deals and has always been there for us. My dad is so grateful to Amy's always positive contributions to our family. Brittany: My sister Brittany recalls one of her favourite memories when Popo would take her to the Dollarama near her house. Regardless of where she took Brittany, she always made her feel so special and spoiled. They walked into the dollar store and Popo told Britt to choose whatever she wanted. This made Brittany feel so happy in that moment. Carly: My cousin Carly says that she loved every moment she spent with Popo. One of her favourite memories with her will always be joining her in her morning exercises. As a kid, Carly used to think Popo was crazy, but clearly those exercises were part of the reason she has always put up such a strong fight. Carly will always remember her as one of the strongest women in her life and she is so grateful for the times they had together. Nikki: When my cousin Nikki thinks of Popo she is reminded of how Popo is one of the main reasons she has such a sweet tooth. Growing up, every time Nikki would go to her house Popo would make the best eggo blueberry waffles with extra butter and syrup. Popo also contributed to Nikki's addiction of Tim Horton’s by always supplying her with loads of Timbits and Iced Capps. She always fed us well and supplied all our favorite snacks! Noel: From Popo’s niece Noel in Hong Kong. In 2005 Noel had organized a big Christmas party at her home for us with more than 25 relatives gathering. We traveled with her family to see the sights and eat on outdoor patios. She is so happy that Popo and Jenny’s family were able to visit Hong Kong and stay in their house. This warm memory she won't forget. Joe: Joe from Denver wrote that Tao yee (aunt Amy) was a very generous person. She bought him a suede brown jacket when he met her in 1981 - the very first time in his adult life. He thinks he still has it somewhere in his closet. Jenny: As many of Jennys close friends and family know, she has a knack of forgetting or losing things. Well Popo knew this before all of you. Even with Popo's inability to talk, she would still gesture my mom to remember to take her glasses, her phone or her purse on her bed before she left the nursing home. Don’t worry mom there’s a lot of family and friends who will keep reminding you. You’ll never lose anything because of them. Popo would often look mom up and down as she visited, and mom knew exactly what she’d be saying if she could talk. Another new coat! new shoes! another purse??? “Ai yay! Save your money!” Mom would have a lot more money if she’d only listened to her mother. Cindi: Aunt Cindi remembers her mother would always say “don’t worry I’m okay just take care of your family.” She can never remember her mother complaining. Popo was a kind, selfless, generous, independent person. I believe these are traits she has passed on to Cindi. Popo taught her children to work hard and enjoy life. Cindi enjoyed conversations and people watching with Popo while sitting outside on the porch after dinners. They enjoyed many trips together. When she was younger Cindi would watch how Popo prepared and cooked some of her favorite dishes so she would be able to carry on the tradition. And she's got pretty good!!!! Over the last few weeks at the nursing home so many PSW’s approached Cindi and told her how sweet her mother was and how much they enjoyed spending time with her over the years They were even calling her “Mama”. They said she was a strong and an incredible lady. That was Popo! Scott: My uncle Scott played a lot of sports when he was young. One day Popo told Scott he had to pick one, so he chose hockey! Popo rarely got to see Scott play because she was always so busy working. One year Scott had a particularly good season and knew he was up to win a couple of trophies so he wanted Popo and Gungung to be at the banquet. That evening Scott didn’t win just a couple of trophies. He ended up taking home 9! He needed a box so he could take them all home! The look of joy and happiness from Popo’s face was priceless. Unfortunately, Scott didn’t make the NHL (Sorry Popo). Oh, and everyone is waiting for you up in heaven at the mahjong table. Now, my brother Taylor would like to say a few words. (Taylor can come up and speak, then I can come back for the rest). Dear guests. Leave the bad luck at the funeral and bring good luck home. In Chinese culture, red is the color of good luck, and the coin represents fortune. Before guests arrive home they should eat the candy and spend the coin to seal their luck. Now I’d like to finish with a poem. She had strength beyond strength And faith beyond faith. She had nothing, yet would give you everything. She had courage and strength And determination and grit. She was brave and beautiful. Now there is no pain. Now there is no fear. Now there is only comfort, peace, forgiveness and joy. She is free, she is happy again And home where she belongs. She lives on; she is in us, and she is with us, always. She is the light that will never go out. Rest in peace Popo. We love you. Original transcript from mom: Met our dad, Nay Sen, through a mutual friend, and they wrote letters while he was in St Catharines and she was in Hong Kong. She came to Canada in the late 50s? She was a very strong woman even at that time to leave behind her job as a primary teacher, her parents, 2 brothers and 6 sisters and best friends. She had a wonderful life in Hong Kong but must have felt was going to be an even better life in Canada. She would be the first to leave Hong Kong in her family and move to Canada where she worked and learned English while working at the Maple Leaf Cafe, the restaurant our dad coowned with family. They married in January 1960. By the end of the year, Jenny was born, then came Cindi in May 1963. We remember somewhere during that time, Amy also worked in a canning factory with our cousin’s parents and took English lessons too. Amy and Nay Sen were elated when Scott was born in 1974, a son to carry the family name. Our parents lived above the restaurant for many years, then moved to their first house on Head Street, just behind the restaurant. In 1972, our parents took over the lease of our cousin’s restaurant in Niagara on the Lake, Club 19, it wasn’t a club, a full-service restaurant serving Candian and Chinese cuisine. Oh, it was a busy place in the summer, my mom worked long hours with our dad and only one or two helpers. Cindi and I worked every weekend, we really hated it as kids at the time, and it wasn’t until we were in our 20s did we realize our parents worked hard and long to ensure we had a great life. Our parents did take a few trips we remember, Expo 1969 and visiting relatives in Montreal, we went to Fantasy Island in Niagara Falls a few times, and they actually closed the restaurant for 3 weeks, so we could go to London England and Hong Kong to visit family. We missed the Blizzard of 77 because of that trip. Eventually, we the lease ended, we moved to St. Catharines, on Bunting road, and they went and worked for relatives in Fort Erie and Niagara Falls, Mom worked long hours and most days. I’m not even sure if she took a day off, she drove from St. Catharines to Fort Erie every day. She had a really bad accident one time on the QEW, totalled the car, but then had the police drive her to work, we didn’t know it until she called and we had to drive to Fort Erie at the end of her shift to bring her home. She dedicated her life and work to others, regardless of how she felt. Just before dad passed, Amy had suffered a stroke, only to find out that she had a tumour in her brain. It did turn out to be cancerous, she had it removed and then a few months later had to have part of her skull removed because it was infected. While in the hospital, the nurses would tell us that she would get out of her bed and help feed other patience in her room, she always worried about others before herself. After that, she wasn’t able to work anymore. However, Cindi and I were able to take her on trips, to New York City, Sherston Shores, Caribbean cruise. And with the help of our cousins, Mimi and Michael they helped accompany her and Jenn’s family to the village where our father was born and raised in China. Serving and helping others is what she has always done, mom was the most selfless person we know. She instilled these traits into all of us. Help others first and then worry about yourself. Work hard and never mind what others say or do. Get a good job and a good husband/partner. That we all did. We lived up to all those expectations and we know she was proud of us all. Then in 2015, unfortunately, she fell down her basements stairs. Scott found her, took her to the hospital. The dr said she had a slight bleed, and they wanted to keep her in the emergency overnight. Her last words to Jenny that day were, Go home, I’m fine, you need to go to work in the morning. Within 8 hours, she had had a massive brain bleed and was on life support. She survived, but was paralyzed from the neck down, she couldn’t eat or talk anymore. She was moved to The Meadows Nursing Home in Ancaster to be close to Jenny. Again she defied the odds, she was strong, and after 3 years, she was able to move her left hand and wanted to eat like the others at her table. The PSWs would tell us, that she’d gesture them over, not to help her, but to help the others at the table who couldn’t reach their drink or their food. There were many times Amy looked well enough to get up from her bed or her chair and appear to walk home, we had only wished it were true. We thank the amazing staff at The Meadows, the PSWs and the nurses were amazing, they kept her happy and comfortable. The last month has been a roller coaster for Amy.
Amy Seto (Shun Tao Ng)
April 1936-March 2022
My Popo has always been my hero, ever since childhood. Her resilience and strength to overcome everything that she's been through would be inspiring to anyone. She taught me culture, courage, how to be open-minded and encouraged me to try new things.
She taught me that rice cookers always made better rice than on the stove,
She showed me how to bargain at the Dollar Store
And most especially, she taught me the importance of family.
Although she wasn't fluent in English and there was a slight language barrier between us, we were ways very close and had a connection on another level.
A vivid memory of her when I was young: I didn't want to go to school and I was acting out, so my parents took me to stay at Popo’s house for the week. Each day she would cook me delicious Chinese dishes, take me shopping and call me a good boy even though I was staying there for being naughty. She knew positive reinforcement was the way to my heart.
She enjoyed simple things in life. Bruce Lee and Kung-Foo films, Filet-o-Fish from McDonald’s, and pretty much any type of candy or sweet.
We have had 7 years to prepare for this moment since her fall, but I knew it would still be one of the hardest days in my life.
There will always be a special place in my heart for you Popo.
I love you, forever.
Celebration of Life
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