Matt Fong could throw a snowball with accuracy. I know. I
was on the receiving end of a couple of sharply tossed snowballs sliding down a
hill in Big Bear when our families got together years ago. Matt was a spirited
guy, a dedicated public office holder, and an example of someone who could
paddle through strong political currents with his character unscathed.

I asked Matt once how, as a Republican who served as
California’s Treasurer and ran for the U.S. Senate, he dealt with politics with
his mother, March Fong Eu, longtime California Secretary of State and a
Democrat. Matt explained that his mother respected his political beliefs as he
respected hers. I assumed his confidence came from the certain feeling that he
had his mother’s vote in the privacy of the ballot booth.

As Treasurer for the state, Matt worked diligently to
protect taxpayers’ money. We talked a number of times about his efforts in this
regard. He was ahead of his time in trying to figure out the best way to deal
with pension problems.

But, most of all, Matt Fong was simply a good, caring guy.
He believed in being involved in making his country and his state safe and
prosperous, whether as an Air Force officer or an elected public official.

And, he had great help from a loving family. Matt’s wife,
Paula, was involved and at his side as a delegate to the most recent Republican
National Convention. She also was dedicated to better government, herself, as a
member of the Board of the Rose Institute of State and Local Government at
Claremont McKenna College.

Matt was very proud of his successful children, Jade and
Matthew, who were involved to his smiling merriment in that long ago snow ball

With Matt Fong’s passing, California has lost one of her
prized sons.