Waterpark opened in memory of Wong

By KIRAN MALIK-KHAN, Connect Weekly

The late Fort McMurray obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Keet Peng Wong’s son, Chris, wife, Janet and daughter, Jocelyn at the opening ceremony of Wong’s memorial waterpark on August 29, 2015 in the Syncrude Athletic Park in Timberlea. PHOTO: Kiran Malik-Khan, Connect Weekly.

The late Fort McMurray obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Keet Peng Wong’s son, Chris, wife, Janet and daughter, Jocelyn at the opening ceremony of Wong’s memorial waterpark on August 29, 2015 in the Syncrude Athletic Park in Timberlea. PHOTO: Kiran Malik-Khan, Connect Weekly.

Almost every woman in Fort McMurray has a Dr. Wong story. And, many of those stories include affectionate reminders from him on not getting “too fat.”

The well-known obstetrician/gynecologist, who passed away on June 4, 2014, and has been credited with delivering an estimated 20,000 babies in 35 years – now has a waterpark to his name. The K.P. Wong Waterpark was dedicated on August 29, 2015 in the Syncrude Athletic Park in Timberlea.

Mayor Melissa Blake was on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony along with Dr. Wong’s wife, Janet, son, Chris, who specially came from Edmonton and daughter, Jocelyn, who traveled from Edmonton. Councillor Tyran Ault, and well-known community leader, Don Scott, were also in attendance.

Mayor Blake, whose both sons were delivered by Dr. Wong said naming the waterpark for him was a fitting tribute.

“He reminded me often to not get ‘too fat.’ Dr. Wong made a lasting impact on the people of Wood Buffalo, and for that we are profoundly grateful. It is easy to say why there’s an outpouring from our community today.”

“He wasn’t a gigantic man with big hands, so he needed those babies to be small so they wouldn’t get away from him. Needless to say, he was excellent at catching. My profound thanks to his family for sharing Dr. Wong with us when we were taking his time way after hours. And, thank you for letting us name this park in his honour,” she added.

“We can’t thank the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo enough. Having this waterpark means we have something to come back to, and one day show his grandchildren,” said Chris Wong.

An emotional Chris Wong fought tears as he thanked the Municipality for honouring his father.

“We can’t thank the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo enough. Having this waterpark means we have something to come back to, and one day show his grandchildren.”

“When dad got sick, we were surprised by the outreach from the community, and the Facebook group that was started in his memory. It helped us get over it – hearing about the time what dad did when he wasn’t with us,” said Chris Wong.

“When dad got sick, we were surprised by the outreach from the community, and the Facebook group that was started in his memory. It helped us get over it – hearing about the time what dad did when he wasn’t with us,” he added.

Dr. Keet Peng Wong – or K.P. as he was affectionately known by his friends – passed away at the age of 68 due to a heart condition, and newly found cancer. He was born in Malaysia. He completed his medical studies in Kuala Lumpur, and his Obstetrics and Gynecology specialization at McGill University in Montreal in 1977. This is where he met his wife, Janet, who is a nurse. Dr. Wong moved to Fort McMurray in 1979, so Janet could join her sister here.

A lesser known fact about him: though he hardly had any free time, Dr. Wong read history books about his heritage, or the World Wars, as well as books about business finance, according to his son. Through the years he remained a community champion. He cofounded the Fort McMurray Chinese-Canadian Cultural Society 35 years ago, and was a past president.

Lily Gu. Vice President of the group, fought tears as she shared memories of him.

“He was more than a doctor to us. He was a lighthouse. We’ve always wanted to name something after him.”

“Dr. Wong established the Chinese language school in Fort McMurray. In the 1980s and early ‘90s when Fort McMurray was going through an economic downturn, and the group was about to go bankrupt, every day after work, Dr. Wong would go around town gathering bottles for us, and recycled them to raise funds,” shared Gu. “His office doubled as our meeting place and storage. Even when on call, he would run in and out of meetings. He never cancelled any meeting.”

Well-known community leader and lawyer, Don Scott, shared his memories. And, congratulated the Municipality on the naming ceremony.

“Dr. Wong delivered both of my girls. The little one was premature, and he arranged for the emergency flight. He even travelled to Edmonton with us. His nature was to ensure his patients were taken care of,” said Don Scott, who knew him for over 15 years.

“Dr. Wong delivered both of my girls. The little one was premature, and he arranged for the emergency flight. He even travelled to Edmonton with us. His nature was to ensure his patients were taken care of,” said Don Scott, who knew him for over 15 years.

Speaking of knowing, Gina Davis has known Dr. Wong for decades. A 38-year local resident – her brother Jeramie was delivered by Dr. Wong, and so was Jeramie’s son. She started the Facebook page: “In Memory of Dr. KP Wong.”

“I got to know him as a patient in July 2012. We were going through invitro. My pregnancy was a high-risk one with twins. I was nervous, because we had been trying for three years, and they were our third round of invitro. We lost the first one in nine weeks. He consulted me; walked me through it. And, helped me so much. My dream was to have kids as a little girl, so this was very difficult. But, you could just tell Dr. Wong loved his profession. You can’t say that about everyone,” noted Davis.

Local residents joined family members of Dr. K.P. Wong to celebrate the opening of the waterpark in Timberlea on August 29, 2015. PHOTO: Kiran Malik-Khan, Connect Weekly

Local residents joined family members of Dr. K.P. Wong to celebrate the opening of the waterpark in Timberlea on August 29, 2015. PHOTO: Kiran Malik-Khan, Connect Weekly

As for the waterpark being named after him, Davis said the event was a beautiful opportunity to see “different generations celebrating him. I can’t imagine how many people here were delivered by him.”
“He was so proud of me for not eating cookies or ice cream,” smiled David, whose twins, a boy and a girl are two-and-a-half years old, and the new baby girl is three months old.

His slight smile, the bright eyes, and the continuous looking out for his patients including the reminders to not get “too fat,” Dr. Wong will always be remembered in Wood Buffalo.

Visit the Dr. K.P. Wong Waterpark on Dominion Drive.

– Connect Weekly –