Well-known undertaker Mr Sam Tong has died
The third generation member of a Hastings family of funeral directors, Mr Samuel Thomas Tong, died yesterday after a short illness. He was 63.
Mr Tong, who had recently established a funeral directing partnership with Mr Geoff Massey in Havelock North, came from a family whose association with the funeral business dated from 1878.
His grandfather, whose Christian names he inherited, established an undertaking business in the old weatherboard building in Karamu Rd now occupied by Russell Orr Studios Ltd.
His father, Mr Oswald Tong, continued the family business in Hastings for many years. Mr Sam Tong and Mr Desmond Peryer operated the company between 1957 and 1983.
Mr Tong was born and educated in Hastings and was a keen sportsman throughout his life. He played a major role in the establishment of the Windsor Park skating rink, canvassing business firms for “a bag of cement or 10 bob” to help provide the concrete rink. He was subsequently made a life member of the Hastings Open Air Skating Club.
A former wrestler, he was closely involved in the administration of the sport in earlier years. He was a life member of the Heretaunga Club and a member of the Flaxmere Golf Club. In recent years he took up bowling as a member of the Heretaunga Bowling Club.
In his youth he played rugby for the Hastings High School Old Boys club and represented Hawke’s Bay as a wing three-quarter. During the Second World War he served with the RNZAF in the Pacific.
Mr Tong was described by friends as “a very generous person – a great giver” with a wide variety of interests in the community.