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A family group of 7 gathers around a memorial bench on the University of Arizona campus

The Hom family always visits the memorial bench honoring HOM MOON JUNG and his family friend, William Bon Sam Tom, when they come to campus. Seated from left to right are Ted, Chris and Jaron Hom. Standing from left to right are Moon, Paul, Ashley and Yan Hom.

Honoring the Founder of the Legacy

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Honoring the Founder of the Legacy

May 29, 2024
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The Hom family affords opportunity in remembrance of HOM MOON JUNG, the first in a line of University of Arizona engineering graduates.

When HOM MOON JUNG graduated from the College of Engineering in 1937, he began a family legacy. His three sons – Moon, Paul and Don Hom – completed University of Arizona engineering degrees, as have two grandsons, Chris and Ted Hom. And four more grandchildren have earned UA degrees in other fields.

Now, Paul and Moon have endowed the HOM MOON JUNG Memorial Scholarship to ensure more future engineers can work in their chosen field.

Teaching Service and Generosity

HOM MOON JUNG emigrated from China when he was a teenager. He studied mining engineering at the University of Arizona, and his friend Soleng Tom studied aerospace engineering. The roommates took turns working and going to school each semester to support one another. The family believes HOM MOON JUNG was one of the first Chinese Americans to graduate from the College of Engineering.

HOM MOON JUNG military service head shot
HOM MOON JUNG is shown here serving in the U.S. Army’s Cannon Company 15th Infantry Regiment during World War II.

After graduating and working briefly as a mine surveyor, HOM MOON JUNG served in the U.S. Army during World War II, along with his two brothers. After the war, he opened a grocery store – T&T Market – with Tom in Tucson.

‘The political and social environments were very different than today, and he was not able to find an engineering job,” said Paul, a mechanical engineering alum.

Later, HOM MOON JUNG opened Desert Trailer Market, which became the backdrop for his sons’ childhoods and the place where he taught them about the value of work and helping others. The market was on West Miracle Mile just east of Interstate 10, and the family’s home was attached.

“Running the stores took 14 or 15 hours of hard work every day from our father and mother,” said Paul.

HOM MOON JUNG extended credit to those who were struggling and fed those with nothing to eat, they said. He also learned conversational Spanish to better communicate with the store’s many Hispanic customers, said Moon.

The three sons agreed their parents’ work ethic and generosity instilled those same values in them.

HOM MOON JUNG also impressed upon his sons a respect for duty through his service in World War II. In 2021, his sons accepted a Congressional Gold Medal on his behalf. Congress issued medals to Chinese and Chinese-American veterans of the war in recognition of their heroism and the discrimination they faced in building thriving communities in the U.S.

“It meant quite a bit to us,” said Paul.

Three people pose with a medal and photo.
Retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. M. Ted Wong presents HOM MOON JUNG’s Congressional Medal of Honor at a December 2021 ceremony in Scottsdale, Arizona to Moon Hom, left, and Paul Hom.


Family Unity

HOM MOON JUNG passed away in 1973, and the family kept the store open for another three years while completing their engineering degrees, with Moon graduating in 1974 with a mining engineering degree, Paul in 1977 and Don in 1978 with a mechanical engineering degree.

During that period, Paul took a break from school to focus on the store. In addition to needing time to study, the brothers faced difficult competition from chain stores.

These experiences moved Moon and Paul to help mechanical, mining and chemical engineering students access education. Their scholarship, when possible, will go to students who are working while attending school. And it will honor their father in perpetuity.

Both college supporters, Moon and Paul first considered honoring their father’s legacy at the UA around 25 years ago when they sponsored a memorial bench in memory of HOM MOON JUNG and his family friend, William Bon Sam Tom, together with the Tom family. The brothers grew up with the Tom family, who also owned a grocery store. Four of the five Tom children also earned engineering degrees. For Don, growing up with the Toms encouraged him to pursue his engineering education.

Ted and Chris Hom pose in graduaton caps and gowns at the University of Arizona campus
‘Although our grandfather passed before we were born, it is good to see his legacy live on with the scholarship,’ says Chris Hom, shown here (right) in 2008 graduating with cousin Ted.

All three believe their father would be proud to know his sons and grandsons have completed engineering degrees. Paul’s son, Chris, and Moon’s son, Ted, both graduated with chemical engineering degrees in 2008. Chris is now a process engineering lead for Angola LNG, a natural gas producer working in partnership with his employer, Chevron. Ted is a quality engineering manager for GE Healthcare.

Attending the university with his cousin was a great experience for Chris.

“It was good to have family close by, as both of our families were in Phoenix,” he said. “We rushed the same fraternity [Phi Kappa Tau] and have many good friends from our time in college.”