Raymond Jang, a devoted father who spent his life fixing engine radiators to build a better future for his family, died Jan. 13 of age-related complications, his family said. He was 88.
Mr. Jang's business, OK Radiator, was a neighborhood fixture on 16th Street in downtown Sacramento for more than 40 years. He opened the small shop between U and T streets in 1945 and serviced cars five days a week.
A record for honest, reliable work earned him contracts with state and local agencies to repair their fleets. A reputation as a humble, soft-spoken man and hardworking mechanic won him loyal customers and friends.
Although business increased steadily as more state office buildings opened, he worked every day alongside three employees to keep engine cooling systems humming in Sacramento's overheated summers.
"Having grown up and worked there, I can tell you that my dad had a very strong work ethic," said his son, Marc. "He was a humble guy who just went to work every day and never had any great needs or expectations for himself. He only wanted something better for us."
Mr. Jang raised two children in the Land Park area with his wife of 64 years, Rose. Their son, Marc, is a retired chief executive of a national chain of surgery centers.
Their daughter, Judith Jang-Berkholtz, ran a communications business until she was diagnosed with leukemia. Her parents organized bone-marrow drives that focused national attention on the need for more Asian donors to help their daughter and a Sacramento toddler with leukemia, Amanda Chiang.
Jang-Berkholtz died of the disease in 1989 at age 32.
"I never saw my father cry all his life," Marc Jang said. "The only time I can remember was when my sister passed away, and he was talking about her and choked up."
Born in Locke in 1923, Raymond Calvin Jang was the ninth of 12 children raised by a farmworker and homemaker. He graduated from Courtland High School and was in the Navy Seabees in the Philippines during World War II.
He returned to Sacramento, learned auto mechanics in trade school and went into business with a partner, William Carnes. He sold OK Radiator and retired in 1986.
Mr. Jang was devoted to family and close friends from high school. He attended large weekend gatherings with his siblings and relatives in Locke and introduced his young children to the joys of hunting, fishing and trapping along the Sacramento River.
After retiring, he enjoyed playing golf with his wife and spending time with his grandchildren. His granddaughter, Allyson, recalled childhood days with him in verse:
"Morning walks and stretches,
then sitting out in the sun,
then eating a sandwich with
chips fron noon to one."
"His life was very simple," Marc Jang said. "He was very much at peace and content."