Ann S. Hsia

  • Born: December 24, 1933
  • Died: October 17, 2017
  • Location: Lansdowne, Pennsylvania

Donohue Funeral Homes, Inc.

8401 W Chester Pike
Upper Darby, PA 19082
Tel. (610) 449-0300

Tribute & Message From The Family

Beloved Wife, Loving Mother

Message From The Family

Thank you for your support during this difficult time. Please enhance this tribute to Ann by adding your memories and photos.

Ann Sun Wo Hsia

Ann was born in 1932 to a middle class family in ChangZhou, a small city in the south east of China near Shanghai. At eight days old, her mother abandoned her and she was raised by her grand-mother. She went to Catholic girl schools through high school. During her high school years, civil war broke out between Mao ZeDong's Red Army and Chiang Kai Shek's National Revolutionary Army. In 1949, the year she graduated from high school, Mao's Communist Party won the war and established the People's Republic of China on the Mainland.

Ann was accepted by the Shanghai Drama Institute, a four year college, majoring in drama and acting in 1949. She graduated in 1953 and was assigned to work at the then Central Broadcasting Station (CBS) at the capital city of Beijing, as an editor and broadcaster of the Children's Literature Program.

Ann met and married Carol's father, Run Kang Chen, who was working in the CBS Spanish language program, in 1956. According to Ann, it was love at first sight when they caught each other's eyes across a dance floor. They had Carol in 1957, the same year Carol's father was branded an anti-revolutionary rightist and subsequently sent to a reeducation work camp. As part of Run Kang's punishment, Ann was exiled to the remote Northwest city of YinChuan in NingXia province in 1959. She was made to work at the Mandarin Drama Troop as an actress. She had many leading roles. Living and climate conditions were extremely harsh. Ann had to be a single parent caring for a sickly child. The last six months that Run Kang spent at the work camp, Carol cried every night. He died in that camp in 1961 after 4 years of hard labor as a result of food shortage and stomach bleeding. After he died, Carol stopped crying.

Ann was punished again during the Culture Revolution as a spy and a traitor because her deceased husband had studied in France and Spain before returning to China. Ann raised Carol alone until 1971 when she married David Rue Yang Hsia, another "anti-revolutionary" exiled to YinChuan. David was a big man. For the first time in so many years, Ann shared that she felt a sense of security. In 1972, Ingrid was born.
In 1973, the United States started the ping pong diplomacy with China. This was the beginning of the end of Mao's ruthless, bloody rule. By 1976, Mao died and his wife and her Gang of Four (which spread terror throughout China) were arrested.

Deng Xiao Ping started economic reform in 1977 and began opening up China to the foreign world. David's brother-in-law came to China with his American born son to meet with the relatives for the first time in 30 years. David and Ann used the opportunity to apply to go to Hong Kong to meet with David's sister and brother and their families. The application was approved by the Communist Party at the end of 1978 and the family left China for good.
David's sister submitted immigration application to the US for the family soon after their arrival in Hong Kong. In 1985, after Carol had been studying in the US as a college student for a couple of year, the rest of the family joined her.

It took tremendous courage to leave one's homeland. In spite of the traumas she suffered under Communist rule or perhaps because of those experiences, Ann was determined to leave China to give her family a better life.

It has not been easy for David and Ann to move to a new country in their 50s. Finding work, learning the language, making ends meet…but they were content. David was a mechanical engineer in China and worked for more than 10 years in a factory as a skilled machine operator in north New Jersey before retirement. Ann has worked as a Chinese language teacher at Berlitz and Inlingua part-time. She also took care of an old lady in New York. She loved this country and its people very much.

Ingrid was only 12 when she came to this country. She finished college and law school at Rutgers and received her law license in California. Carol finished her actuarial science degree at Temple. She has been working as a software engineer for the last 20 years. Ann had a severe stroke in 1996 that disabled her right side. After David died of esophageal cancer in 2004 at age 78, Ann lived with Carol and Peter for more than 13 years until her passing.
Despite her disabilities as a result of the stroke, her health condition was quite stable. She was well loved and cared for by Carol and Peter. She loved traveling but money was always tight. After moving in with Carol and Peter, they wanted to give her the gift of travel (more than 15 trips in 13 years). They have taken her to China and to Europe several times: London, Paris, Berlin, Munich, Vienna, Salzburg. London was her most favorite city. Ann also loved classical music, ballet and opera. Carol took her to multiple Philadelphia Orchestra performances, Bolshoi ballet on big screen in theater. They have been annual subscribers of the Philadelphia Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) for the last 12 years. Ann held on to the ticket stubs from these performance for years: La Traviata; La Boheme; Swan Lake; Madama Butterfly. The look on her face when watching a performance was often one of enchantment. Ann loved beauty in all its guises. Music and dance gave her that sense of beauty.

Ann has gone through tremendous hardships but she survived and triumphed over them. Throughout it all, even under crushing conditions, her love for her daughters and her family always shone through. Today we celebrate her life.

Relatives and friends are invited to her viewing Saturday, October 21, 2017 2:00-3:00 PM The Donohue Funeral Home, 8401 West Chester Pike, (cor. Lynn Blvd.), Upper Darby, PA (610) 449-0300 and to her Funeral Service at 3:00 PM. Interment will be private.