Photo of Xiangyun Xu
Xiangyun Xu

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.

讣告
Xiangyun Xu 许祥芸

许祥芸,我们的好妻子、好母亲,我们最亲爱的祖母和曾祖母,于上个周日,11月7日逝世,享年88岁。
在她位于东111街的公寓里,许妈妈享受了人生最后15年的时光。在这个多元的环境里,她与这里以及周边遇到的每一个人都成为了朋友。她是为数不多的能够与各种族居民打成一片,一同参与宾果游戏和其他社交活动的美籍华人之一。从中国这样一个同质化程度很高的国家来到这里,她克服了自己最初的偏见。她曾说:"偏见来自于无知;每个种族都有好人和坏人。"
1933年5月17日,许妈妈,作为长女,出生于江苏射阳县的一个地主家庭。她曾是当地最聪明的孩子,特别是在数字方面非常有天赋。在3岁幼小年龄的时候,她已经能做100以内的加减法计算。她喜欢去家附近的芦苇地里抓鱼、虾和螃蟹。她的祖父母就像疼爱孙子一样疼爱她(即使是在重男轻女的环境里)。生活就是一部田园诗。二战后,受家庭经济状况恶化以及中国政治转型影响,她错过了去正规学校读书的机会。但在她母亲的教导下,她对阅读、基础数学和许多生活技能的学习从未止步。20多岁的时候,她参加了上海的成人培训班,达到了类似今天的小学毕业程度。
在一场政治革命中,她先后失去了家族的土地和自己的父亲。随后,她不得不承担起了抚养三个弟妹和自己母亲的经济责任。起先,她搬到苏州做保姆。然后通过介绍,她又搬去了上海谋求更好的工作机会。在后来为大学教授做女佣的工作期间,她的管家能力和求知若渴的态度给教授的太太留下了深刻的印象。于是,这位教授太太将她介绍到了成人培训班。教授太太也成为后来许妈妈和她未来丈夫蒋顺元先生的媒人。
1961年,许妈妈与蒋先生在上海完婚。在陆续迎接儿女来到这个世界的同时,他们还各自支持着自己留在江苏的兄弟姐妹和年迈的父母。许妈妈资助她最小的妹妹完成了学业,并坚持多年为母亲和弟弟寄送生活费。当她的侄子和侄女想要搬到更大的城市谋求更好的机会时,她也多次伸出援助之手。他们永远铭记这位最亲爱的"姑妈"。
在中国后来不断经历的政治和经济动荡期间,许妈妈也从未忘记让孩子们必须学习的最重要的东西:知识和敬业精神。她鼓励两个孩子保持优异的学习成绩,申请顶级的学校,并出国读研。在她的女儿考取了美国研究生后,许妈妈借钱为她买了机票并凑到了最初的500美元生活费。后来,她通过一些额外的缝纫工作偿还了债务。
对许妈妈而言,天地无边,人的生活和视野从不曾停止扩展。在她将自己的世界从农村扩展到上海这座城市之后,她鼓励孩子们将自己的生活从中国继续扩展到美国,随后她自己也跟随孩子们的脚步到了美国。虽然英语水平有限,但她在这个新的家园里的生活从不乏味。她在华裔社区内外结交了许多朋友;她对文化多样性充满好奇;她接受新科技并活跃于社交媒体;她对自己的在美国蓬勃发展的家庭感到高兴。她爱着这片土地。2020年2月13日,86岁的许妈妈通过了公民资格考试,成为美国公民。她随即登记选举投票,渴望着行使她的公民权利。
五年前,许妈妈被诊断出患有重症肌无力症(MG),这是一种慢性自身免疫性疾病,抗体会破坏神经和肌肉之间的联系。她积极求医,并始终享受着生活。随着家庭的不断扩大,她对家庭成员的爱和奉献也越来越多,仿佛有着无限的爱可以给予和分享。她总是对自己很节省,舍不得花一分钱,但却是孙子孙女最慷慨的"阿婆"和"奶奶"。她为她的孩子及其他们的亲人提供了无数关于人际交往、妥协和相互理解的智慧。她的许多建议,即使在当时没有得到很好的理解,也会在后来被印证是再宝贵不过的。她是大家庭中当之无愧的支柱。
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。
2016年10月份,许妈妈和她的女儿曾做过一次新英格兰公路自驾游。她们一起开车穿越过几乎看不到任何人的小村庄,也穿越过找不到停车位的大都市;共住过面朝大海的房子,也住过艺术家的小木屋。许妈妈一直问一直问:"这些人是从哪里来的?他们是怎么找到这个地方的?"她对遇到的每个人都怀着敬畏之心;她想要知道他们的故事,他们祖先的故事;她总是对这个世界充满好奇。
也因此,她成为一个令人称奇的人。
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。

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

MEMORIAL SERVICE
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:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/692786315?pwd=TjBGdTRDNmpSUERiU3RUc2ZoNzVKQT09
Meeting ID: 692 786 315
Passcode: Columbia (first letter uppercase)

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

殡葬安排
许祥芸

遗容瞻仰
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

追思会
时间:11月17日(周三)19:00至20:00
地点:Greenwich Village Funeral Home;199 Bleecker Street; New York, NY 10012
电话:212 677 9600
直播连线
Zoom地址:https://us02web.zoom.us/j/692786315?pwd=TjBGdTRDNmpSUERiU3RUc2ZoNzVKQT09
会议号码: 692 786 315
密码: Columbia (首字母大写)

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

Funeral Services

Visitation

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

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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
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