Statement of Secretary Elaine Chao - Aug 2007
Statement by United States Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao
On the Passing of Her Beloved Mother Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, August 2, 2007
My father, Dr. James S. C. Chao, family and I are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, devoted wife, treasured mother, precious grandmother, philanthropist and Asian scholar. Words cannot express our grief at the passing of this anchor person in our lives.
Not many people know that my mother was diagnosed with cancer of the lymph nodes at the same time that the President announced my nomination as the United States Secretary of Labor.For seven long years, she has fought this disease valiantly with courage, optimism and relentlessness. Each time, the disease has come back with greater ferocity, frequency and resistance. Like most Chinese who have lived through 20th Century Chinese history, her life was marked with hardship and sacrifices – she endured the devastation of civil war, invasion of her native land, and relocation to a new country where the language, customs, and even food were so alien. Yet, she faced all these challenges with a deep reservoir of inner strength and abiding faith. She was the foundation of our family’s happiness and achievements.
Our mother was a great supporter of women. In watching her suffer all these years, her daughters have learned a great deal from her about bravery in the face of great physical suffering, determination in making the best of life, and sacrificial, selfless, unconditional love for others. Our mother is the reason we are who we are today.
Some people may have noticed that my parents sometimes accompanied me on public events. My parents sacrificed so much for their children. It was a very small, joyous way to share a bit of my life with them.
Our mother also represents the passing of a generation that has suffered much over the last half century with such strength, stoicism and duty. She herself would claim she was quite ordinary yet she was an extraordinary woman who devoted herself to God, her family, and community and changed history in her own way.
We thank everyone who has been so kind to her and to us during this difficult time.