FAT, Thomas N.
Tom Fat was born in Sacramento on September 15, 1940 and died on May 17, 2007 in his San Diego home after a short battle with cancer. He spent his early years in Sacramento and was required to work in the family restaurant at Frank Fat's. He learned that he did not want to wash dishes for the rest of his life. At the encouragement of his father, he went to further his education and graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a degree in business, gained a law degree from Hastings School of Law, served three years as a captain in the Army and later a master's of law in taxation at New York University. He practiced tax law for four years in Los Angeles, but moved back to Sacramento in 1972 to join the family to build the second restaurant called China Camp in Old Sacramento. He worked diligently to make the family business successful. He was a dedicated civic leader and had the vision to expand the family business. Tom moved to San Diego in 1977 to operate China Camp and Fat City Steakhouse in downtown San Diego. He quickly immersed himself in civic affairs, participating in economic development issues, the growth of the Little Italy business district, the relocation of Lindbergh Field and management of Qualcomm Stadium. Tom served on a wide variety of task forces and community organizations, including stints as chairman of the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau, executive board member of the 1998 Super Bowl host committee, president of the San Diego Restaurant Association, chairman of the advisory board of the Asian Business Association and director of the San Diego Film Commission. "I have learned through the years that I am my father's son," Tom said last fall in an interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune. "He had an immense influence over everything I've done." Tom is survived by his wife, Jenny of San Diego; daughter, Monica (Shane) of Orinda; sisters, Jean Ann Lai and Mable Moffat; brothers, Dr. Kenneth Fat and Jerry Fat of Sacramento; two grandchildren and many extended family and friends. In lieu of sending flowers, donations can be made in the memory of Thomas N. Fat: the U.C. Hastings College of Law, College Relations, 200 McAllister St., San Francisco, CA, 94102; or the Tom Fat Civic Leadership Fund at the San Diego Foundation, 2508 Historic Decatur Road, San Diego, CA 92106. Memorial service was held in San Diego. Friends are welcome for visitation at W.F. Gormley and Sons on Friday, June 1 from 3-7pm. Private interment will be held on Sunday.
Published in the Sacramento Bee, Sacramento, CA on 5/29/2007.