Esther Don Tang

Areas of Achievement: 

Honored By

Honored by: Howard, Constance
Date submitted: October 24, 2006
Gift: Lighting Fixture

Esther Don Tang is a native Tucsonan. She was born and raised in the old barrio where the Tucson Community Center now stands, and her home was demolished in the late 60s for urban renewal. But her memories remain of a simpler Tucson when she was born in 1917. Her father, Don Wah, had come to Tucson prior to statehood. He went to Fukien, China to bring back his bride, Fuk Yut (Silver Moon of 18 years), and then raised one boy and nine girls in Tucson. Another family store/home was situated at the northwest corner of Jackson and Convent, where she grew up and lived and the family did business. Before she went to school she learned Chinese at home, Spanish playing with the neighborhood children and English when she started school.

Esther's Tucson roots are deep and strong. At the age of 18 she started her community involvement by volunteering. Over the next sixty years, her commitment to the community has been evidenced by the many and diverse organizations and agencies with which she was and is involved, including First Executive Director of Pio Decimo Neighborhood Center (1965-1985), YWCA, University of Arizona, Pima College, Arizona Historical Society, Sister Cities, Pima Council on Aging, Council on Aging Foundation, Tucson Airport Authority, Salvation Army, and dozens of others.

Her awards and citations are too numerous to identify here. Her lifetime activities include appointments to national, state and local organizations, and she holds the distinction of having been honored by five Arizona Governors, from both parties.

In addition to volunteering, Esther is a successful business woman, founder and owner of Tang Properties, LLC, with her husband David, who passed away in 2002. She spent 15 years as a builder and co-owner of Assisted Living and Retirement Complexes in Arizona.

For more information on her life and activities, and on her Chinese family in Tucson, go to her web sites at and