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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, February 25, 2010

Educator Margaret Pang, 85

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Margeret Pang

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Margaret Young Pang, an educator and authority on Chinese music, language, history and culture, died on her 85th birthday, Feb. 6.

Pang was born in Honolulu and grew up in Pālama. She was a third-generation Chinese-American and her grandfather started the O'ahu Market in Chinatown in 1904.

A graduate of Farrington High School, Pang attended the University of Hawai'i, where she earned a master's degree in Asian studies. She taught at Lincoln Elementary School for more than 25 years, retiring in 1982.

Teaching wasn't her only love. Pang taught Chinese culture at UH in the evenings and on weekends, and since 1989 she was a volunteer at the Hawaii Heritage Center, specializing in Chinese culture.

Pang was known to many as the "Chinese songbird" for her Cantonese opera and stage performances, which she did from 1940 to 1985. She conducted classes on the Chinese butterfly harp and enjoyed demonstrating the instrument to children.

In 1976, she and her husband, Chinese musician Raymond Pang, were invited to participate in the Smithsonian Institute and National Park Service Festival of American Folk Life in Washington, D.C.

Pang produced three record albums for children on Chinese culture and dances. She also wrote five books for elementary school children.

In 1982, Margaret Pang was selected as a "Living Treasure" by the Hawaii Chinese History Center. The Hawaii Heritage Center awarded her its Keeper of the Past award in 2004.

Pang is survived by children and three grandchildren.

A celebration of her life will be held from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Sunday at the Hawaii Heritage Center, 1040 Smith St. For more information, call 521-2749.