After arriving in the United States, Kong Loy carried water to other immigrants constructing a railroad. He was compensated by an apple a day and “a little other food,” his daughter, Pearl Loy Wong, was told.
Later, Loy became a vegetable gardener and finally a successful dairy farmer at Vancouver. Some of his descendants still live in Portland. Among his grandchildren are two attorneys (one sits on the juvenile court bench in Portland) and two holders of master’s degrees in business administration, working hin high-tech industries.
Loy was born in 1867 and arrived in this country about 1880.
Wong said her father started vegetable farming at what is now the site of the Vanalco Inc. (former Alcoa) plant, possibly about 1912 or 1913.
He took so much produce into Portland that the horse knew the way without any guidance, family members joked.
Loy credited Simeon Durgan for encouraging him to enter the dairy business. In five years, Loy paid off a $3,200 debt to Durgan on his new venture.
The business expanded and prospered. Loy delivered milk to the Vancouver Barracks, restaurants, other firms and private homes. Eventually he bought a truck to replace his horse and buggy.
Loy’s bookkeeper was his wife, Rose, a Portland native whom he had married in 1915.
Wong said her father operated a dairy at the farm of the Sisters of Charity of Providence, in the area of Fruit Valley Road and Fourth Plain Boulevard. He had horses, pigs, cows and some prune and nut trees.
Loy also operated a dairy above the Interstate 5 Bridge near what was later the Kaiser shipyard.
A 1931 newspaper article observed:
“Kong Loy owns a dairy of 100 cows, and he has a modern plant, producing Grade A milk. He employs a large crew of men, who are sanitary and efficient. His output is about 300 gallons a day.”
The same article said Loy also had found time “to manage extensive commercial gardens, prune orchards and hog lots, where the refuse from his restaurants have been turned into profit.”
Although Loy spoke only pidgin English, he “rubbed shoulders” with General George Marshall and other officers at the Barracks, Wong said. Marshall’s wife visited the Loy home at 2108 E. Seventh St.
Loy continued in the dairy business until about 1939 when he sold out. The family had been living at the farm but moved to East Seventh about this time.
Loy had wanted to go to Shanghai and start a dairy there, but the Japanese of China sidetracked his plans.
Instead, he entered the import-export business in Portland with his son, Percy.
He died in 1951 in Vancouver at age 83.
After graduating from high school at Providence Academy, Pearl Wong visited China from 1935 to 1937. Son Percy also spent several years in China as a youngster to learn the culture. Percy entered the military in World War II and served from 1943 to 1949. He was a flying officer and ended up as a lieutenant colonel.
He went into a frozen food business with Pearl’s husband in Portland, and after her husband’s death, Percy and Pearl continued the enterprise.
One of Kong Loy’s daughters, Priscilla, was a nurse, after graduating from the University of Portland.