By James Loyola
Mrs. Elizabeth Yu Gokongwei, the widow of taipan John Gokongwei Jr., passed away a day after her husband was buried. The woman behind the success of her industrialist husband died at the age of 85.
According to the late billionaire, they were married when he was just a small entrepreneur after about four years of courtship. During the 61 years they were married, their children said Mrs. Gokongwei had fussed over her husband and took care of the family, thus playing a strong supporting role while he built his business empire.
The couple had six children: Robina, Lance, Lisa, Faith, Hope, and Marcia.
While family was her priority, Mrs. Golongwei was also active in the Gokongwei clan’s philanthropic activities as one of the trustees of the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation.
Through her initiative, GBF partnered with the Liong Tek Go Family Association to develop a scholarship program that provides assistance to bright and promising Go family members in need of financial support to continue their education.
Established as a social organization to help the various branches of the Go family maintain contact, the Liong Tek Go Family Association has evolved into a charitable institution providing educational, medical, and financial assistance to its disadvantaged members and to other individuals and organizations.
Mrs. Gokongwei had also published a book, “My Angkong’s Noodles”, which was dedicated to her grandmothers and great grandmothers who had cooked for their family.
The book tells her story of how she grew up to the smell of food cooking during the pre-war days when her grandmother took charge of the kitchen while her mother and other daughters in law help in preparing the ingredients and wash the pots and generally make sure the men and children were well-fed.