Compliments of Lakeview Memorial Park
Longtime Willingboro NJ resident, Beilin Zia, passed away on July 28 after a sudden illness, in Walnut Creek, CA, surrounded by family. She was 88 years old and had moved to Willingboro (then Levittown) in 1958 with her husband and their children. As Chinese Americans, they were the first minority family to move into the new housing development, eventually raising six children through the Willingboro school system. In the 1990s, Beilin moved near two of her adult children to the Rossmoor senior community in sunny California, where she lived for the last 19 years. Beilin is survived by her six children and their current or former spouses: Henry (Camille), Helen (Lia), Hoyt (Leigh-Ann), Hugo (Dorothy), Humane (Kevin) and Haddon (Gee Han); 11 grandchildren: Hank and Jennifer; Emily and Rory; Frank, Beilin and Grayson; Marshall and Mitchell; Madelaine and Devon; also an elder sister (Betty Mitterholtzer) and two nephews (George and Peter Jarldane). Born in China, Beilin grew up in Shanghai during a time of war and hardship. She overcame many challenges and immigrated to the US in 1949, first arriving in San Francisco, then to New York City, where she met her late husband Yee Chen Zia, a poet and scholar of Suzhou. They eventually moved to southern New Jersey. Beilin's six accomplished children live across the country, from the Philadelphia and Washington DC area, to California and Hawaii. Beilin enjoyed visiting her children and grandchildren and traveling with them to Alaska, Las Vegas, Hong Kong, and beyond. When she was in her 70s, she returned to China with family and fulfilled her dream of seeing the Great Wall. Through her determination and optimistic personality, Beilin earned an education disrupted by war and turmoil. She taught herself to become a superb chef and a home economist who could stretch a dollar. To her children, she had a PhD in parenting and life. During her 40 years in Willingboro, Beilin touched people with her cheerful enthusiasm, her kind and open friendliness, and her warm and sincere interest in others. For several years, she was a popular teachers’ aide at J. Cresswell Stuart Elementary School. She also worked at Mother's Kitchen in Burlington, where she had many friends. She was the type of mother and mother-in-law whom others wished for. Friends and relatives are invited to a remembrance honoring Beilin's life on Friday August 18 at Givnish of Maple Shade, 600 E. Main Street, from 10-11:00 with a family sharing beginning at 11:00 a.m. A private burial will follow at Lakeview Memorial Park in Cinnaminson, where she will be laid to rest next to her beloved husband. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Beilin's name to the Chinese Historical Society of America www.chsa.org, or Asian Women's Shelter www.sfaws.org.
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