Former State Treasurer Matt Fong Dies of Cancer

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Matt Fong

Former state Treasurer Matt Fong, also an ex-vice chairman of the state Board of Equalization died on June 1, in Pasadena after a battle with cancer.

Fong, 57, was the adopted son of former Secretary of State March Fong Eu and served as treasurer from 1995-99.

A native of Oakland, Fong attended the Air Force Academy and earned degrees from both Pepperdine University and Southwestern University School of Law. He ran unsuccessfully for state controller in 1990, losing to incumbent Gray Davis. After being appointed to the Board of Equalization by Gov. Pete Wilson, Fong defeated Democrat Phil Angelides to become state treasurer in 1994. He would later win the Republican nomination as a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 1998, but lost in the general election to incumbent Senator Barbara Boxer.

He earned a bachelor’s of science degree from the United Air Force Academy in 1957, after which he served on active duty for five years. He continued in the USAF reserves with a rank of Lt. Col. and in 1982 he received an MBA from Pepperdine University and a juris doctorate from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles in 1985.  Fong was a member of the American, California, District of Columbia and Los Angeles Bar Associations.

Fong joined the Pepperdine University Board of Regents in 1993 and served on several committees. He was active in community activities and served in several board of directors, one of which was the RAND Advisory Board for Asia.

His wife, Paula, and two children survive Fong.

“A devoted family man, Matt is a dedicated public servant, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and pioneer and trailblazer for the Asian Pacific American community and all Americans,” said Elaine Chao, 24th U.S. Secretary of Labor (2001-2009) in a statement. “Throughout his career, he mentored and cultivated future generations of leaders to lead our country. His many contributions to our country and society will never be forgotten.”

Ed: This article has been corrected to reflect the 1998 U.S. Senate race results.

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