Chan Lim Shang (Pinyin Chen Liansheng), Lawrence, 陳廉生 (1918-2001)
by Sharon Sung, Letitia Casebeer, Terence Chan, and Clement Chan, 2013
Basic Biographical Data
Born: November 20, 1918 in Limzhou, Guangxi; Died: April 28, 2001 Loma Linda, California.
Parentage: Father, Pastor Chan Chuk Ping; mother, Ng Wai Chun.
Siblings: He was the eldest with 5 brothers and 1 sister. From the oldest to the youngest were Wallace Woo Shang Chan, Ying Shang Chan, Yung Shang Chan, Stanley Chum Shang Chan, Ping Shang Chan, and the youngest sister Man Ying Chan.
Spouse: Chan Lim Shang married Dolores Yuk Kie Choi in 1946, in Dongshan, Guangzhou.
Children: Sharon Sun Duen Chan Sung, Letitia Wai Lok Chan Casebeer, Terence Tat Yin Chan, and Clement Kar Man Chan.
Summary of Service: Chan Lim Shang devoted his life to the service of our church for more than forty years-he worked at the SDA Mission Office, SDA school, and GC Transportation Bureau, as Treasurer, Accountant, Secretary, Pastor, and Vice President.
Pastor Chan Lim Shang was born on November 20, 1918, in Limzhou (廉州), Guangxi (廣西). He was the eldest son of Chan Chuk Ping (陳竹平). His father was the first Chinese national ordained minister of the Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) Church in the Guangxi Province, South China, which at that time, was a “mission field”. His mother, Madam Ng Wai Chun (吳慰珍), was a Bible worker. Following their marriage, the couple gave birth to a child every year. Since his father was spreading the gospel and was traveling all over Guangxi Province, the new couple named each newborn son after the town where the child was born. Thus, the Chan brothers and sister were named:
First son – Lim Shang (廉生), Lawrence
Second son – Woo Shang (湖生), Wallace
Third son – Ying Shang (瀛生)
Fourth son – Yung Shang (邕生)
Fifth son – Chum Shang (潯生), Stanley
Sixth son – Ping Shang (平生)
Seventh daughter – Man Ying (文英)
When Chan Lim Shang was thirteen years old, his father passed away suddenly from a stroke, following a long day of visiting church members and giving Bible studies. His widow was left with seven young children. And so Chan Lim Shang’s world was changed in an instant. Being the oldest child, he felt it was his responsibility to help to provide for his family. He decided to pursue accounting, which enabled him to study and work at the same time. In addition to paying his own tuition through a work-study program offered by the church school, he was able to help his younger siblings and lessen the financial burden on his mother.
Chan Lim Shang attended the Guangzhou Dongshan Sam Yuk Training Institute (廣州東山三育研究社) and graduated in 1937. In the ensuing five years, he worked under the guidance of Dr. Joseph Hwang (黃如愚), Mr. Stamford Wong (黃慎修), and Pastor Williams for the South China Guangzhou Mission as a treasurer, located in the city of Guangzhou (Canton). When the Pacific War broke out in early 1942, he moved with the Mission Office to Laolung (老隆), Guangdong.
Experience that led to a life-time of service
In the summer of 1943, Chan Lim Shang was traveling in Qujiang (曲江), Northern Guangdong. At about 10 o’clock in the morning, an air raid siren suddenly sounded. He, along with everyone else, rushed into an air raid shelter. A bomber promptly appeared and circled overhead. People in the shelter cried out to their gods and Chan Lim Shang was no different. He was so grateful that God spared his life. It was during this life changing experience that he rededicated his life to serving God.
In November, 1946, the war ended. Chan Lim Shang married Miss Choi Yuk Kie (蔡玉姬), Dolores, in Dongshan (東山), Guangzhou (廣州). In 1949, the young family relocated with the Mission Office to Hong Kong. He became Treasurer of the South China Hong Kong-Macau Mission, which was located in Happy Valley, on the Hong Kong Island. After a few years, he was invited to become the treasurer for the Clear Water Bay Sam Yuk Secondary School in the New Territories in Kowloon, Hong Kong. He remained there in Clear Water Bay for approximately eight years. Following his tenure at Clear Water Bay, he was again invited to serve as Treasurer of the South China Hong Kong-Macau Mission in Happy Valley, where his wife assisted him as a bookkeeper in the accounting office. A few years following the move to Happy Valley, he had the honor of being ordained as a minister.
It was during this period from the late 1940’s to near the end of the 1960’s that the church in Hong Kong experienced rapid growth. In addition to the Sam Yuk schools in Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong, and Kowloon, an annex was added in Aberdeen, and Taipo Sam Yuk was established. The number of churches was also expanding, from the original three churches: the Pioneer Memorial Church on the Hong Kong Island, the Kowloon Church at Boundary Street, and the Clear Water Bay Church, to additional churches in Tsim Sha Tsui, North Point, Hong Hum, Tsuen Wan, and Yuen Long, to name just a few. Church membership grew steadily. During the same period, two Adventist hospitals were built, first in Tsuen Wan (Tsuen Wan Adventist Hospital), then a few years later on the Hong Kong Island (Hong Kong Adventist Hospital). Later, Chan Lim Shang became the Vice President of the Southeast Asia Union Conference, a post which he held until the spring of 1968, when he left Hong Kong to join his two younger brothers, Wallace & Stanley, in California.
The American years
On the day following his arrival in San Francisco in 1968, Chan Lim Shang reported for duty at the West Coast Transportation Bureau of the General Conference of SDA in San Francisco, which was responsible for the visa and transportation needs of the SDA missionaries serving overseas. The Lord truly guided him and blessed him. He worked there as an accountant-bookkeeper for the next ten years, until his retirement on September 30, 1979. Chan Lim Shang remained faithful to the service of his church for over forty years. Auditors from the General Conference frequently commended him for his diligence, accuracy, and attention to detail. Coworkers often expressed their appreciation for his integrity.
A few months after his arrival in America, Chan Lim Shang was saddened by the news of his mother’s passing in Hong Kong following a terminal illness. While it broke his heart, his family's financial situation was such that he was unable to travel back to Hong Kong to care for her in her final years, or even to attend her memorial service.
In 1978, Chan Lim Shang and Dolores sustained serious injuries in a major car accident in San Francisco that required extensive surgeries and subsequent lengthy physical rehabilitation. Through this life-threatening experience, however, their faith in God was again strengthened, for they praised Him for sparing their lives and restoring their health.
After many years of hard work and devotion, Chan Lim Shang retired in 1979. He and his wife moved from San Francisco to Loma Linda, California, where they could be closer to some of their children and also to the growing number of their friends and former classmates from China and the Far East who chose Loma Linda as home. He was able to spend a lot of quality time with his family. He also became very involved with the Loma Linda Chinese SDA Church, his extended family. Soon after their move, his fifth brother, Stanley, moved from Upland to Loma Linda. Then, his second brother, Pastor Wallace Chan, also moved from San Francisco to Loma Linda after his retirement. And so the three brothers were once again reunited. They all belonged to the Loma Linda Chinese SDA Church Senior Citizens Club, and went on many field trips and overseas travels together.
All his life, LS took his work seriously. He often worked long hours without any breaks. During his tenure at the Hong Kong-Macau Mission, at one point, he held four posts simultaneously: Secretary of the Mission, Treasurer of the Mission, Pastor, and a member of the school board. He dedicated his entire life to the Lord’s work. Physically, he had suffered from chronic atrial fibrillation for a number of years, most likely as a result of rheumatic fever caught during his childhood in China, prior to the availability of antibiotics. Although his chronic atrial fibrillation was under control by medication, in the summer of 1994, he suffered a mild stroke. This left him with weakness and tremor in his legs. He was hospitalized for approximately four weeks at the Loma Linda University Medical Center, where he received excellent care, and he was visited daily by many friends and relatives. He was subsequently diagnosed with a Parkinson-related illness.
Upon release from the hospital, Chan Lim Shang received very attentive care at home by his wife, with the assistance of private care providers for almost two years. When it was no longer possible to care for him at home, he was admitted to a private board and care facility, where he received attentive 24-hour care. His wife was there by his side, helping with his care daily. Family and friends visited him frequently.
In November of 1996, Chan Lim Shang and Dolores celebrated their golden anniversary with family and friends. It was a happy occasion to reminisce with old classmates and friends.
During the subsequent years, his physical condition gradually deteriorated, and he was mostly confined to bed. In 1999, more advanced care was required. He was transferred to a skilled nursing care facility. On April 28, 2001, Pastor Chan Lim Shang passed away peacefully in his sleep. His memorial service took place at the Loma Linda Chinese SDA Church on May 5, 2001. The church was filled with family and friends. Among those who attended, many were his close childhood friends, schoolmates and coworkers from China and Hong Kong.
Chan Lim Shang is survived by the following family members:
His wife, Dolores Yuk Kie Choi (蔡玉姬), of Loma Linda, California
His oldest child, Sharon Chan Sung (宋陳信端), an anesthesiologist, and her husband Shiu Chung Sung (宋紹聰), a physicist, of Diamond Bar, California
His second child, Letitia Chan Casebeer (紀陳懷樂), a certified public accountant, and her husband Craig Casebeer (紀懷德), an attorney, of Piedmont, California
His third child, Terence Chan (陳達賢), a radiologist, and his wife Angela Chan (皆川泉), an internist, of Centralia, Washington
His fourth child, Clement Chan (陳嘉民), a vitreoretinal ophthalmologist, and his wife Aileen Chan (新垣愛), a dentist, of Palm Springs, California
His nine grandchildren: Anthony Cheng (鄭明德), Belinda Cheng (鄭曉欣), Jeffrey Sung (宋傳輝), Lily Sung (宋麗玲), Christopher Casebeer (紀豪德), Jennifer Casebeer (紀珍妮), Kimberly Chan (陳美), Christian Chan (陳俊麟), and Kathryn Chan (陳文君).
Many years have passed since the passing of Chan Lim Shang. His family still misses his warm smile, infectious laughter and his congenial disposition. His friends often characterized his strengths as: his faith in God, devotion to his church and family, his humility and his frugal and honest nature; all traits that are highly desirable as a custodian of the financial welfare of the church. A memorial scholarship fund was established in his honor at the North American San Yu Alumni Association for the support of worthy students in SDA schools. A room at the Loma Linda University Centennial Complex was named in honor of the two brothers, Lawrence and Stanley Chan. Our lives are truly blessed by having had him as a husband, father, and friend. As Chan Lim Shang stated in his autobiography: “My earnest wish is that all of you will treasure this last period of time before probation closes. We must all be diligent in preparing our bodies and hearts, so that we may joyously welcome our Savior in glory. Let us keep praying for each other. Amen.”
Figure 2: Chan Lim Shang as a student in 1934
Figure 3: Chan Lim Shang (back right) and his four brothers, Woo Shang (back left), Ying Shang (back center), Chum Shang (front left), & Ping Shang (front right)
Figure 4: Chan Lim Shang (left) and his mother (front center), sister Man Ying (front right), brothers Chum Shang (back left), & Ying Shang (back right).
Figure 5: Graduating class of 1937 Guangzhou Dongshan Sam Yuk Training Institute. Chan Lim Shang: second row, third from the right .
Figure 6: Marriage of Lawrence Chan Lim Shang to Dolores Yuk-Kie Choi on November 14, 1946
Figure 7: Chan Lim Shang (back right), his wife Dolores (front right) with daughter Sharon, his mother (front middle), Wallace Chan Woo Shang (back second right), Wallace's wife Minnie with their daughter Alice, Ying Shang (back second left), and Chum Shang (back left).
Figure 8: Chan Lim Shang, wife Dolores with their four children Sharon, Letitia, Terence, and Clement at Clear Water Bay, 1956
Figure 9: Chan Lim Shang bidding farewell to church members
when he departed Hong Kong to America in 1968
Figure 10: Chan Lim Shang and Dolores at Loma Linda in 1993
Figure 11: Three generations of the Chan Lim Shang family at Loma Linda 1995
Figure 12: Lawrence Lim Shang Chan, ca 1950
1. Chan, Dolores (2012). Some events described in this article were gleaned from private communication with Dolores Chan by her children Sharon Sung and Terence Chan.
2. The original article on Chan Lim Shang as written by his four children is available as a pdf file download below named: “ChanLS story.pdf”.
Last updated 4/11/2013 by Terence Chan