Children grateful for mother’s unwavering faith, devotion to family and 107 years of life

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“If we were to write a one-sentence eulogy for her, I would say: Inez Chung was a devout child of God who lived her faith,” her daughter said.

Inez Chung died as she lived: in peace.

The 107-year-old died quietly in her bed at Sunset Manor in Collingwood after a phone conversation with her son Roderick Chung on January 27.

“She was always happy,” Roderick said. “She was a peaceful and happy person. I think that was one of the keys to her long life. She never stressed anything too much.

Widowed at 40 and living in her home country of Guyana with six of her nine children still at home, Inez might have felt overwhelmed.

“She dedicated her life to raising the family she left behind,” said Roderick, who was just one year old when her father passed away.

Inez worked as a sales clerk for an appliance store, she taught music and Bible studies, she ran an elementary school, and she sewed, iced cakes, embroidered and tended a garden. In her words, she “got busy.”

Inez was named Mother of the Year in 1979, an annual honor bestowed in Guyana.

On her 100th birthday, Inez quoted one of her favorite Bible verses: “Children are our inheritance,” from Psalms 127:3.

Inez’s legacy is rich with nine children, 28 grandchildren, 54 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. This is in addition to nieces and nephews, and a network of families related by blood, marriage and adoption.

“Family for mom became the people she met,” Inez’s daughter, Jennifer Joseph, said. “So many people called her mum, mum, grandma. She was quickly adopted and always shared that genuine, heartfelt love. She was ready to pray with anyone.

Inez’s Christian faith and devotion to her family are her lasting legacy and the qualities her children try to reflect in their own lives.

“Those are big shoes to fill,” Roderick said. “We try to live the Christian faith…when something happens, I breathe and I have to say, ‘what would my mother do?'”

Jennifer also tries to have faith like her mother.

“It’s a very difficult task,” Jennifer said. “If we were to write a one-sentence eulogy for her, I would say, ‘Inez Chung was a pious child of God who lived out her faith.'”

She prayed for hours a day, played the piano until she was 100, and sang and hummed hymns until the day she died. At least one Sunset Manor staff member told Jennifer and Roderick that they learned hymns from Inez.

“To an extraordinary extent, every moment of her life I knew her was about walking, not talking,” Jennifer said.

In 1983 Inez moved to Canada with Roderick, eventually they settled in Wasaga Beach, and Inez moved to Sunset Manor shortly before his 100th birthday.

She traveled as much as she could to visit her family all over the world, and always wrote letters and sent birthday cards.

“I saved every letter she wrote to me…she had beautiful handwriting,” Jennifer said. “She never missed a child’s birthday and sent regular letters. His letters always started with a Bible verse, and that was often exactly what I needed…it will always remind me of the depth of his faith.

Many people, including her family, were drawn to Inez. Jennifer attributed her mother’s magnetism to the inner peace and contentment that came from Inez’s faith and trust in God.

A memorial service held on February 2 was limited to around 30 people, with dozens more tuning in from virtually every corner of the world. One day, Inez’s family will come together again in her memory to celebrate her legacy of family and faith.

“We truly feel an extraordinary sense of gratitude for a woman who we know is truly a phenomenal woman,” Jennifer said. “You hear that word, but I think if it applies to anyone, it’s mom.”

The family asks anyone wishing to make a donation in their name to do so for Sunset Manor Long Term Care Homewhere she spent the last seven years of her life.

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