Take Two

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by Alex Cohen & A Martínez

Wilbur K. Woo, businessman and leader in LA's Chinese community, dies

by KPCC & wires | Take Two

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Justin Yifu Lin and Wilbur K. Woo (R) at the Wilbur K. Woo Conference on the Greater China Economy in February 2012. Courtesy UCLA Asia Institute

Wilbur K. Woo, an influential leader of L.A.'s Chinese community and father of the first Asian-American City Councilman, Michael Woo, has died at his home in Monterey Park. He was 96.

Woo was a successful businessman, and though he never held political office, he was influential in the Chinese community and was an avid political fundraiser. 

Woo, a Republican, was a fierce supporter of his son, a Democrat, despite their conflicting political points of view. Michael Woo credits his father's family loyalty and quest to strengthen the Asian American community for bridging the political party divide. 

"We really came from different generations, but despite our disagreements blood is thicker than partisan loyalty, and dad was a very devoted supporter of mine all the way through," said Woo on Take Two. "He thought, regardless of who was a Democrat and who was a Republican, what was really important was the Chinese American community and the Asian American community deserved representation."

Woo first immigrated to L.A. in 1921 at 5 years old, but then moved back to China with his family during the Great Depression. He returned to L.A. permanently in 1940.

Michael Woo joins the show to discuss his father's lasting legacy. 

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