Cathy Ly Phan aka Cathy Ly or Chui Man Ly
May 8, 1980-Sept 29, 2020
Cathy Ly Phan – beloved wife, mother, daughter, sister, niece, and cousin; cherished friend; trusted colleague and adored by so many – passed away on September 29, 2020, from complications relating to a brain aneurysm. She was 40 years old.
Cathy was born on May 8, 1980, and raised in Sacramento, California. Growing up, she and her siblings Tony, Johnny, and Heidi spent weekends and holidays helping their mom at Happy Garden Restaurant, a popular Chinese restaurant on Stockton Boulevard. She went to Elder Creek, Herman Leimbach, and Anna Kirchgater Elementary Schools, James Rutter Middle School, and graduated as one of the top 10 students from Florin High School in 1998, where she excelled in academics, athletics, and the arts. Among other activities, she was President of the Key Club, played soccer and ran cross country, and was elected homecoming princess her senior year.
Cathy attended the University of California, San Diego (2002) where she majored in Structural Engineering. She was an active member of Alpha Phi Omega, a national service fraternity, and loved living in beautiful La Jolla. While in college, Cathy also studied abroad in Hong Kong (2003). She also received a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Norwich University in 2010.
After college, Cathy moved back to Sacramento and worked for several years as a civil engineer at Mead & Hunt. She later took a job at Pacific Gas and Electric, where she worked successfully for 14 years and was promoted to Manager of Dams and Asset Management in 2020. As a civil engineer, she oversaw dam safety, compliance, construction, and maintenance for PG&E’s hydro facilities throughout California. Always willing to contribute to her community and understanding the lack of diversity in the profession, Cathy was actively involved in a number of mentorship programs for women and people of color.
Cathy met the love of her life, her husband Eric, in high school, but only reconnected in Sacramento after college. It was not until a chance encounter at a party in Davis that their romantic relationship developed. They ignored everyone else at the party and talked the night away and started dating soon after.
In 2006, Cathy and Eric moved to the Bay Area, and they married in September 2008.
Cathy approached marriage and motherhood as she did all other things in life: with passion, kindness, and an unending supply of strength and love. She was a dedicated partner to Eric as they built a life and a family in San Francisco over the last 14 years. Raising her two children – Gwen (9) and Ethan (7) – was the greatest joy of her life. Cathy was always active and present in their lives, building community and being an active participant in their preschool, elementary school, and other activities.
Cathy’s happiest times were spent with her friends and family. So many of her loved ones have fond memories of sharing a meal, camping, skiing, climbing, hiking, karaoke-ing, and more with Cathy – she had a zest for life and truly lived each day to the fullest. Her connections were deep and she always made an effort to visit her friends and family around the world – from Elk Grove to Redondo Beach and Southern California, London, West Lebanon, Australia, Colorado, San Diego, and more, Cathy traveled miles to spend time with loved ones.
Cathy is survived by Eric, Gwen, and Ethan; her mother Lisa Ung and father Bau Ly; brothers and sister Tony (Pam), Johnny (Lien), and Heidi; Eric’s parents and siblings; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. Cathy was preceded in death by her beloved grandmother Lin Su. We take great comfort in the fact that Cathy and her grandmother are reunited once again.
Information regarding a memorial will be forthcoming. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to help support Eric, Gwen, and Ethan. A GoFundMe has been started, which you can access here: https://gf.me/u/y22b9p
Message From Elk Grove Tribune
The Elk Grove Tribune offers our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Cathy Ly Phan.