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Diana Biren Mann, 93, of Hoover, AL passed away on February 17, 2021. She was born in Hong Kong to her father, Tung Chung Wei, and her mother, Cheung Yok Kwan. She was one of 12 children.
On Monday, December 8, 1941, she and her sister Jackie were crossing Hong Kong Harbor on the Star Ferry on their way to school when Japanese bombers attacked the city. The attack on Hong Kong coincided with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. They made it to Kowloon and convinced a boatman to take them back to Hong Kong island. During the war, she and Jackie hid in the mountains with their father for a time and then spent most of the war in Macau attending a Baptist missionary school.
After the war, Diana was one of only 1200 students from all of China admitted to the University of Shanghai. In 1949 the Chinese communist revolution, led by Mao Zedong, came to an end with Mao taking control of China. Students, including Diana, who were not supporters of Mao were threatened with arrest and execution. With the help of an American Baptist missionary, Diana escaped Shanghai and returned to Hong Kong. She then made her way to Oklahoma Baptist University. She spent one semester there before enrolling at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. A primary reason to transfer to Tulane was the presence there of James Mann whom she had previously met in Hong Kong in a church youth group. They were married in New Orleans on December 27, 1951.
Diana graduated with a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Tulane. Afterwards, she worked as a social worker at the Sellers Baptist Home for Unwed Mothers. Eventually, she chose to stay at home and raise 5 children and support her husband, Dr. James Mann, as he worked diligently and passionately to build his pediatrics practice in New Orleans. Dr. Mann passed away on December 13, 2002. She also worked for many years as a Chinese interpreter for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Diana is survived by her 5 children, Marie, Patty, Jenny, Peter, and Tim; she also had 13 grandchildren, Daniel, Allison, Tim, Julia, Scott, Mark, Christine, Taylor, Dianne, Spencer, Katie, Anna Beth, and Davis. She was a great grandmother to Kennerly, Maysie, and Isabella.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions and uncertainties, a family/friends gathering and memorial service for Diana Mann will be announced at a later date.
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