Richard ChiYuen Leung
(1953 - 2015)

Richard ChiYuen Leung

Hong Kong
March 26, 1953

California, United States of America
June 21, 2015

Richard Leung was born in Hong Kong in 1953. In 1971, he immigrated to the U.S where he earned his degree from the University of California at Berkeley. There he became an active member of the Asian American student movement. The next three decades of his life were committed to advocating for the rights of service workers as a labor leader in multiple California unions.

For 19 years, Richard represented San Francisco building janitors, the majority of whom are immigrants from Latin America, China, and Yemen. Twelve of those years were spent as Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 87’s full-time elected president, where he led citywide collective bargaining. Under Richard’s leadership, wages and benefits for janitors improved significantly. Richard also led the passing of the Displaced Workers Protection Act, legislation that provides job security and organizing rights for janitors in the city. Additionally, he was a member of the International Executive Board of the Service Employees International Union, an executive committee member of the San Francisco Labor Council, and a founding committee member of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO.

Richard also served as a division director with the California Nurses Association for a number of years. There he negotiated contracts covering over 20 acute care hospitals representing 20,000 nurses, and coordinated a negotiations team of over 50 nurses and 12 field staff. He also worked briefly for the hotel and restaurant workers union, and the public employees union, where he led collective bargaining and contract administration.

In retirement, Richard focused his energy on labor relations in China. He served as a consultant on collective bargaining to union activists in the Pearl River Delta area.

After his diagnosis with cancer, Richard arranged to leave legacies for the social causes closest to his heart. He sponsored an essay contest for children of San Francisco union janitors. He also established a fund that supports scholarships for children of migrant workers and grants for labor research. Finally, Richard contributed to the construction of a museum at Donner State Park in Truckee, California, where an accurate history of Chinese laborers in the U.S. is featured.

Richard is survived by his wife Katie Quan, his stepson Eric, Eric’s partner Melynee, and his step-grandaughter Ella-Rayne. He is also survived by his sisters Wiana Choy, Linda Cheung, and Beverley Chan, and their families.

In his memory and in lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to

Guest Book Wall (What is this?)

Hover your mouse over the wall images to see each guest book entry.

Guest Book (37 entries)
Dear Leung Family,

Please accept my deepest condolences. I am so very sorry for your loss. I hope you might find comfort in knowing that our loved ones that have died are safe in Gods memory and we will soon have the opportunity to welcome these ones back to eternal life on a paradise earth. In God's word, the Bible, we find this promise: "The righteous will possess the earth, And they will live forever on it.". (Psalm 37:29)

With Sincerity,
Abby E (Neighbor)
September 12th, 2015

I am so sorry for your loss and send my prayers. Richard made such a lasting contribution to the lives of so many he worked tirelessly for. His service reverberates throughout the universe. Blessings to you and your family.
Kathy Bibby (friend)
August 27th, 2015
Dear Katie,
So very sorry to hear about the loss of Richard. I didn't know him well but from the time we spent together I had a strong sense of his kindness, decency and uncommon knowledge and understanding of what we care about so deeply. He clearly made a difference in the lives of so many and I feel lucky to have spent even limited time him. My thoughts and sympathies are with you.
Fred Feinstein
Fred Feinstein (Friend and colleague)
August 13th, 2015
Dear Katie

Brenda and I send our deepest condolences to you and your family. A life in service to others and one well lived. How proud we were when Local 87 participated in it's first Chinatown New Year's parade down Grant Ave in San Francisco and in the revival of the San Francisco Labor Day Parade in the mid '70s. Richard was also there for the precursor organization of APALA when it was called AAPL. Always forward thinking aand innovative. The labor movement and the community will miss his thoughtful and people-oriented approach to organizing- but we'll never forget him.
All best
Jan and Brenda
Jan Sunoo (friend)
July 20th, 2015
Dear Katie,

I am so sorry for the loss of Richard. While I didn't know him well personally, the impact of his life and his work clearly has reached many people. I'm sad that I was traveling last weekend and couldn't make it to the memorial service; I would have been honored to be a part of the community celebrating his life. I have a lot of respect and admiration for the way that he and you have approached your lives' work, building real relationships and foundations for organizing in places near and far. I hope that you and your family are finding a strong network of support around you right now, and that you are able to rest and recover after a difficult year.

All my best,
Jessica Halpern-Finnerty (colleague)
July 17th, 2015
Your Contact Details

Remember to proofread. Once submitted, you will not be able to edit.

Select an icon to go along with your message.
Standard Icon - Default (Free)

Premium Icons - Optional ($5 each)

Adding a premium icon to the memorial helps make your comment standout. You can mark a birthday, leave a flower, or just show the family or friends of the person you are thinking of them. iLasting uses the revenue generated from these icons to continually update the site.


"I was part of a group that Richard helped shepherd in Guangzhou in 2012, and was drawn to his quiet, almost philosophical, style - always about the group’s agenda, never about himself, a glimpse of how he built such a legacy as a labor organizer."
Peter Evans
July 2nd, 2015
"It takes an amazing person to dedicate their life to helping others. Workers on the front line are vital pillars to our economy. We are all lucky he was here to keep that foundation strong. Richard is missed by many all over the world. Aloha..."
Jimmy Chan
July 1st, 2015
"Both Richard and Katie are optimistic,steadfast, brave and selfless fighters for workers' interests. Richard will inspire us to follow his path,he will stay with us for ever. R.I.P Xia Zhou June 28th, 2015"
Xia Zhou
June 27th, 2015
"Katie, Richard was truly one of the "Good Guys".He reminds me of Jimmy Stewart. Tall, soft spoken and totally dedicated to helping others live a better life. He will be missed at the family gatherings. aunty janet"
aunty janet lem
June 27th, 2015
Quan Meng
June 25th, 2015
"Dear Katie and richard's friends and family, I am saddened by Richard's passing and send condolences and hugs. Richard always had a friendly smile and kind words for me and Angelica. I will remember him fondly and the kind way you cared for him"
Carol Zabin
June 25th, 2015
Zhihang Ruan
June 24th, 2015
Yuanyang Gao
June 23rd, 2015
Tong Xin
June 23rd, 2015
zhengxiyang zhengxiyang
June 23rd, 2015

Richard Leung's Memorial is currently a Free Account and has reached the maximum usage for this feature.

By sponsoring Richard Leung's site, the memorial will receive these additional features:

Photos -- Up to 100
Candles -- Unlimited
Stories -- Unlimited
Videos -- Included
Timeline -- Included

Sponsoring this memorial is a lasting gift and will be appreciated by family and friends of Richard Leung. You can sponsor this memorial in your name, someone else's name or anonymously.

Share With Family & Friends


to multiple people.

Get Updates

Add your email below to be notified when visitors post to this memorial.

Share this memorial with people by sending them this link: