Obituary of Xiangyun Xu

November 7, 2021

Xiangyun Xu, wonderful wife, loving mother, dear grandmother and great grandmother, died on Sunday, November 7th, at the age of 88.

From her apartment at east 111st Street, Ms. Xu enjoyed her last 15 years of life where she befriended everyone whom she encountered in this diversified building as well as in the neighborhood. She was one of the few Chinese Americans mingle with residents of various ethnicities for bingo games and other social activities. Coming from a largely homogenous country like China, she overcame her initial prejudices. She said: "Prejudice comes from ignorance; every race has good people and bad people."

Ms. Xu was born as the oldest child in Sheyang County, Jiangsu Province to a local landowner family on May 17, 1933. She was considered the smartest kid in the area and extremely talented with numbers. She was able to do additions and subtractions with numbers within 100 as early as 3 years old. She loved catching fish, shrimp and crab from the nearby reed field. Her grandparents loved her as much as they would have loved a grandson (boys were perceived more desirable than girls). Life was idyllic. Due to family's financial deterioration and general political transformation in China after World War II, she missed the opportunity to attend formal schools. Nevertheless, under her mother's guidance, she continued to learn reading, basic math and many life skills. In her later 20s, she attended adult training programs in Shanghai and graduated to an equivalent primary school.

After her family lost their land in the political revolution and her father passed away, Ms. Xu had to shoulder the financial responsibilities of supporting her three younger siblings and her mother. She first moved to Suzhou to work as a babysitter and then through referral, she went to Shanghai for better job opportunities. When she worked as a maid for a university professor's home, her ability managing the household and her insatiable desire for knowledge impressed the professor's wife, who introduced her to an adult training program. The professor's wife was also the matchmaker for Ms. Xu and her future husband Mr. Shunyuan Jiang.

In 1961, Ms. Xu and Mr. Jiang married in Shanghai. As they welcomed their son and daughter to this world, they each continued supporting their siblings and aging parents back in Jiangsu Province. Ms. Xu helped her youngest sister finish school and sent money to support her mother and brother for many years. When her nephew and nieces wanted to move to bigger cities for better opportunities, she extended helping hands numerous times. She will be always fondly remembered as their dearest "Auntie".

When China went through more political and economic turmoil, Ms. Xu never once lost sight on the most important things that her children must learn: knowledge and work ethic. She encouraged both of her children to keep wonderful academic records, to apply for top schools, and to go abroad to pursue postgraduate studies. When her daughter got admitted into a US graduate school, Ms. Xu had to borrow money for the airline ticket and the initial living expenses of $500. Thereafter she took some extra sewing jobs to pay back the debt.

For Ms. Xu, the world was boundless; people's life and view never stop expanding. After her world grew from a village to Shanghai, she encouraged her children to expand their life from China to America, and then she followed her children's path to expand to America as well. With limited English, her life was never dull in her newly found home. She formed many friendships within and outside of Chinese American community; she was curious about cultural diversity; she embraced new technology and was active on social media; she was excited about her family flourishing in America. She loved this land. On February 13, 2020, at age 86, Ms. Xu passed her citizenship test and became an American citizen. She registered to vote and was eager to excise her right.

Five years ago, Ms. Xu was diagnosed with Myasthenia gravis (MG), a chronic autoimmune disorder in which antibodies destroy the communication between the nerves and muscle. She actively pursued treatment and continuously enjoyed life to its fullest. Her love and dedication to her family increased as the family continued to expand, as if she had unlimited love to give and to share. She won't spend a penny on herself, but she was the most generous "Abu" and "Nai Nai" to her grand children. She offered countless wisdom to her children and their loved ones regarding relationships, compromise and mutual understanding. Much of her advice, if not well understood at the moment, came back as invaluable. She was truly the rock of the family.

After a prolonged battle with MG and ensuing lung failure, she got a hemorrhagic shock and checked into New York Presbyterian Hospital on November 1, 2021. She passed away on Sunday, November 7, 2021.

In October 2016, Ms. Xu joined her daughter for a road trip to New England. They drove through small villages where you can see hardly anyone; they drove through metropolitan areas where you can't find a parking spot; they stayed in a house that faced the ocean; they shared a room in a small cottage of an artist. Again and again, Ms. Xu asked "Where did these people come from? How did they find this place? " She was in awe with each person she encountered; she wanted to know their stories, their ancestors' stories; she is curious about the world.

She therefore becomes a person of amazement.

Ms. Xu is survived by her husband Shunyuan Jiang; son Zhenhua Jiang, his wife Jieqi Zhou and their son Roger; daughter Fanghua Jiang, her partner Gerard DeBenedetto and their son Anzi; grandson Jason Wang and his wife Claire Jiang and their son Aiden.

A memorial service celebrating Xiangyun Xu's life will be held on Wednesday, November 17th at 4-8pm at Greenwich Village Funeral House, 199 Bleecker Street, New York, New York. All are welcome to attend.

Xiangyun Xu 许祥芸

经历了与MG的长期斗争和随之而来的肺衰竭后,她出现了出血性休克,并于2021年11月1日入住 New York Presbyterian Hospital。2021年11月7日,周日,她告别了我们。
许妈妈将会一直与她的家人们同在,包括丈夫蒋顺元,儿子蒋振华及夫人周洁琪与他们的儿子若金,女儿蒋芳华及伴侣Gerard DeBenedetto与他们的儿子安梓,孙子王文毅及夫人江晓与他们的儿子Aiden。

许祥芸追思会将于11月17日(周三)的下午四点至八点在Greenwich Village Funeral House, 199 Bleecker Street, New York, New York举行。欢迎各界人士届时出席。

Wednesday, November 17
4:00pm to 7:00pm
Greenwich Village Funeral Home
199 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10012
212 677 9600

Wednesday, November 17
7:00pm to 8:00pm
Greenwich Village Funeral Home
199 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10012
212 677 9600

Live broadcast:

Zoom link below:
Meeting ID: 692 786 315
Passcode: Columbia (first letter uppercase)

Greenwood Cemetery Association
1800 Hamilton Ave.
Hamilton, NJ 18619-3993


时间: 11月17日(周三)16:00至19:00
地点:Greenwich Village Funeral Home;199 Bleecker Street; New York, NY 10012
电话:212 677 9600

地点:Greenwich Village Funeral Home;199 Bleecker Street; New York, NY 10012
电话:212 677 9600
会议号码: 692 786 315
密码: Columbia (首字母大写)

Greenwood Cemetery Association
1800 Hamilton Ave.
Hamilton, NJ 18619-3993

Funeral Services


November 17, 2021

4:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Greenwich Village Funeral Home

199 Bleecker Street

New York, NY 10012

Get Directions

Memorial Service

November 17, 2021

7:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Greenwich Village Funeral Home

199 Bleecker Street

New York, NY 10012

Get Directions

Share a Memory

The Obituaries are currently being upgraded. Please contact us to report any issues.

Posted by: - , - November 13, 2021

Posted by: - , - November 13, 2021

Posted by: Ann Chen - Shanghai, - November 13, 2021

Dear Mom:
So many people are moved by your life. I am lucky to be your daughter. RIP.

Posted by: Fanghua Jiang - New York, NY - November 13, 2021

Growing up with Fanghua, you became my extended family. You became the mother we all shared with Fanghua. Always admired you for your straightforwardness, your no nonsense, your love for the ones you loved. I wish my mother would be as lucky as you, loved, treasured, and accompanied towards the very end of the life. Wish you rest in peace, and surrounded by love again in another world.

Posted by: Peirong Yang - Zurich, - November 13, 2021

I have just read the obituary. It provides a beautiful tribute to a remarkable lady. I am so moved by hearing more about Ms. Xu's life and all she achieved, and I feel privileged to have at least met her once in Shanghai, albeit so briefly. Sending lots of love, John

Posted by: John Harper - , - November 13, 2021

Posted by: Lena Luo - , - November 13, 2021

Rest in peace, Xiangyun Xu, She was a wonderful soul and I pray that God rewards her with heaven.

Posted by: Qing Zhang - Los Ángeles, CA - November 13, 2021

Fanghua I am deeply sorry for the loss of your mother. Reading about this remarkable woman and the way she cared for her family was inspiring. It provides insights into the person you are. My deepest condolences. Ross

Posted by: Ross Martin - Chapel Hill, NC - November 13, 2021

Very loving and charismatic with a big heart, forever remembered.

Posted by: Joyce Huang - , - November 13, 2021

Dear Mom,
I still cannot believe that you left us. I with dad this moment and we're missing you so much. I still can see you and listen to your voice. You will live forever in my heart. Rest In Peace, mom.

Posted by: Zhenhua Jiang - New York, NY - November 13, 2021

Fanghua, my condolences

From your mother's obituary, I saw a courageous woman who loved her family and was the pillar of her family. You are so proud of your mom. May her love be with you always

Posted by: Ashley A Friend - , - November 13, 2021

Dear Fanghua, I am so sorry for your loss! Though I didn't have the opportunity to meet your mom, I know she was a courageous woman with a big loving heart! May she Rest In Peace! May God's grace and love be with you and your family ❤

Posted by: Lena Luo - , - November 14, 2021

Please enjoy the new journey. You theory of defense by offense is amazing!

Posted by: Xue rui Yang - San Marino, CA - November 12, 2021

Xiangyun never had a conversation with me while I had the privilege of being part of the team of health care providers, but without words she spoke volumes of her wonderful positive influence she transfered to her daughter by her commitment and dedication to her mother's care. May God bless the entire family with peace of mind and comfort during this great lost in the family.

Posted by: Jose Ferreira - Kenilworth, NJ - November 14, 2021

Dear Zhenhua and Fanghua,
I can not believe that your dear mom left us so suddenly. I was hoping that all of you could celebrate her many more birthdays. She will always be remembered as kind, loving, strong, fun, wise and open-minded mother.
Sending our love and deepest condolence.
Xingli, Alex and Julian

Posted by: xingli Cheng Cheng - Scarsdale, NY - November 15, 2021

Dear Fanghua and family, I'm so sorry for your loss! I will always remember your mother as a strong and independent woman as well as a loving mother. May she rest In peace and be free from pain. She will be deeply missed!

Posted by: Qiongwen Chen - Bellevue, WA - November 16, 2021

Dear Mom, The sadness you leave us is beyond words. You are the best grandma and mother-in-law! We will miss you forever!

Posted by: Jieqi, Roger Jiang - , - November 16, 2021

Dear Xu Mama, what an extraordinary life you led, and what wonderful legacies of strength and perseverance you leave with us. I will always remember you carrying voice typical of Shanghainese that reminded me of my childhood, a colorful period that seemed have faded. May you Rest In Peace and be the happy champion of Ma Jiang for all of us on the other side. Love Xiaoge Raphie Auggy

Posted by: Xiaoge Cai - Scarsdale, NY - November 16, 2021

Dear Aunt Xu, Mum's lifelong best friend,My most respectful wisely Aunt. i always remember how much loving you send to me especially after Mum left me. I still can listen to your voice it will stay deeply in my heart. Miss you forever!
May you Rest In Peace. Joy MaJang with My mum in Heaven

Posted by: Qin Shi - Melbourne, - November 17, 2021

You are in a thousand winds that blow,
You are the softly falling snow.
You are the gentle showers of rain,
You are the fields of ripening grain.
You are in the morning hush,
You are in the graceful rush.

Posted by: guo min - , - November 18, 2021
Greenwich Village Funeral Home is a Member of:

Metropolitan Funeral Directors Association LogoNational Funeral Directors Association LogoGreen Burial Council LogoGreenwich Village Chamber of Commerce LogoPrePlan LogoCFF LogoCANA Logo