CHICAGO - A legend in the Chinatown community will be laid to rest.
Bernarda "Bernie" Wong was the co-founder and CEO of the Chinese American Service League.
She died at the age of 77. She was a petite woman, but a mighty force.
She started the Chinese American Service League in 1978, with a small office and built it into the titanium clad headquarters in Chinatown.
Tan Court was named after Bernarda "Bernie Wong." CASL is the largest Asian American social service agency in the Midwest. Through CASL, Bernie helped hundreds of thousands of people.
Paul Luu, the current CEO of CASL said of the loss, "We are devastated and heartbroken. Bernie Wong left an immense legacy. She was a trailblazer, a strong woman, a professional, an advocate and someone who truly loved the community."
CASL is an agency that supports families. Providing daycare, tutoring English, finding jobs and feeding the elderly are some of the programs at CASL The annual fundraisers showcased Chinese culture, and attracted the politically powerful and generous donors.
Bernie’s secret talent? She was fearless. Whether approaching presidents or corporate leaders, she won support for the needy.
]She made you understand the core issues and would not take no for an answer. In fact, she would help you find ways and talents of your own to help those in need," CASL Board Chairman James Mark said.
It was Bernie’s mission to build housing for the elderly. Upon her death, the senior living community high rise was named after Bernie and her late husband Albert.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot recently honored Bernie Wong with the mayor’s legacy award. Bernie cultivated new talent, so they could continue to serve the community.
She died after a long battle with cancer.
Services will be attended by hundreds, including three of Chicago’s mayors.