CLEVELAND — Donna Hom, who immigrated to Ohio from China 61 years ago and went from working as a waitress to building a local restaurant empire, has died.
Her family says she passed away unexpectedly this past Thursday. She was 83.
Hom was the owner of three Chinese restaurants: King Wah in Rocky River, Ho Wah in Beachwood and Li Wah in Cleveland. She was also the developer and owner of the massive Asia Plaza shopping complex at East 30th Street and Payne Avenue.
Donna Cheung Hom and her husband Willie L. Hom moved from Guangzhou, China, to Youngstown in 1960, where she worked as a waitress at a Chinese restaurant and a Perkins Pancake House. The family later moved to the Cleveland area, where she continued to work as a server before opening King Wah in 1973. Willie Hom died in 1991.
Donna was known as a tough businesswoman and a strong advocate for the AsiaTown community. She was also known by customers to always a have a smile and a friendly conversation for them as she made her way from table to table.
Hom is survived by her husband Danny Auyeung; four sons Harold, Edward, Stephen and Randy; and a host of friends and relatives. A link to her bio from her 2014 induction into the Cleveland International Hall of Fame can be found here.