Celebrating kindness, light

Jenn Tran

In a room full of friends, family and community, candles were lit to celebrate Sarah Pantip Wong’s life, as all remembered her legacy of passion for loving others, God and environmental causes.

First Free Methodist Church was filled with those who knew and loved Wong. In addition to the Seattle Pacific University community in attendance were her immediate family, high school friends, and long term boyfriend who all traveled to Seattle from Pasadena, California. Those who she worshipped with at Faith Bible Church were also in attendance.

‘Ohana ‘O Hawai’i club, Faith Bible Church, SPU Worship, and Wong’s roommate Rachel Regner dedicated performances in honor of Wong’s memory.

In between readings of scripture, the Rev. Kelsey Rorem designated times throughout the service for anyone to share memories and stories of Wong.

Immediately, the third row of students stood and made their way to the front of the stage, taking turns standing at the microphone. They read letters, shared memories and thanked the Wong family for raising her. Wong’s friend Jade Aritchita was the first to speak.

Everyone who came forward described her voice and her presence as a source of comfort and light in their lives.

“I remember the life that her voice brought,” she said, adding that while Wong was insecure over her singing voice, that Wong sounded like a “Disney princess.”

Embedded within each of these stories were the emphasis on Wong’s strong faith in God.

“She knew who she was, she knew who Jesus said she was. She emulated it everyday. She truly obeyed the command to seek justice, and love mercy, and walk humbly with God,” said Gray Kolde, another one of Wong’s friends.

Kolde added that Wong only ever “brought out the good in people,” highlighting her love to serve and care for others before herself.

Other friends included the way Wong knew God’s love well, and how that was clear in everything that she did. It was clear in her excitement to worship and excitement to love others.

Wong’s boyfriend Patricio Osegueda shared the moment he met Wong, and how it had changed his life for the better.

“I met Sarah seven years ago, at a middle school track meet. … As cheesy as it sounds, Sarah changed my life from the instance we started talking,” he said.

“She was angelic,” he said.

The campus and family of Sarah Wong grieve after her passing. Photo Courtesy of the Wong Family

Osegueda added that while many others considered Christmas or Halloween their favorite holiday, Wong’s was Earth Day. She loved the earth so much that the first thing she ever gifted him with were a pack of metal straws.

“When Sarah and I would go to a restaurant, Sarah proudly showed off her bag of metal straws. The straws were rose gold, very shiny, and stuck out like a sore thumb. It was so embarrassing,” he recalled.

He reiterated Wong’s love for the earth; having done numerous beach clean-ups, and said that she was the “biggest advocate for saving God’s amazing creation.”

Osegueda reminded the audience to remember Wong not as a victim, but as the person she was, for it was what she would have wanted. “Think of all the happy memories,” he said

He concluded by thanking her parents for sharing her with him and “letting her be the most important person in my life. You guys raised the most amazing human being.”

“Sarah Pantip Wong, you have absolutely changed my life. I hope you’re smiling, eating, and listening to music up there. Save me a seat next to you when I go up. I love you with all my heart, forever and always.”