Born in Boston in 1928, Flora Wong moved to Southern China with her family in 1936. Life in China revolved around family and work in the fields. In 1947, Flora married Montana resident Charlie Wong. Their marriage, arranged by a matchmaker who was a mutual contact for both families, took place January 1947 in Hong Kong. Charlie returned to Helena in August, 1948 and Flora followed in December of that year.
Together, they owned and operated Wing Shing Grocery on Main Street in Helena. In 1968, Charlie died, leaving Flora with five children, all under 20 years of age. She operated the store until 1970, then worked McDonald’s department store in downtown Helena for two years. In 1973, she opened the Chinese Kitchen in partnership with George and Irene Wong.
Flora has four daughters – Bess, Gloria, Thel, Nancy, and one son, Poy. She is a proud grandmother and great-grandmother.
In retirement, Flora took up swimming and advanced in the sport to compete in multiple senior athletic events, including four National Senior Games and one World Senior Game.
In 2009, the Helena Sports Hall of Fame named Flora to its list of honored athletes. In 1999, Flora was named Montana Big Sky Athlete of the Year. In addition to swimming, she continues to compete in running events. Past running events include marathons and half-marathons. She has completed the Portland Marathon four times.
Flora’s interests include birding, travel and, most of all, time with family.