Matt Fong, a business consultant and former state treasurer, died of cancer at his home in Pasadena on Wednesday. He was 57.
Fong’s wife, Paula Fong, told the Associated Press that her husband had undergone surgery, chemotherapy and other treatments for tongue and lymphatic cancer in recent years.
Fong, a Republican, was state treasurer from 1995 to 1999 and unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer in 1998.
He was an attorney at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton in Los Angeles from 1985 to 1990, and returned to serve of counsel to the firm after leaving public office. He co-founded Strategic Advisory Group, a corporate financier and investment banking firm now based in Sag Harbor, N.Y.
In 1990, he ran for his first statewide office, controller, but lost to incumbent Democrat Gray Davis. Gov. Pete Wilson then appointed him to a vacancy on the state Board of Equalization. In 1994, he defeated Phil Angelides to become state treasurer. Angelides defeated him in a rematch four years later. In 2002, President George W. Bush appointed Fong as chairman of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Advisory Board.
“As treasurer, Matt never forgot he was managing taxpayers' money, and never failed to put their interests first,” State Treasurer Bill Lockyer said in a statement. “I try to live up to that standard.”
Fong was a graduate of U.S. Air Force Academy and earned an M.B.A. from Pepperdine University in 1982 and a law degree from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles in 1985.
In his leisure time, Fong maintained his certification as a Federal Aviation Administration-certified flight instructor and was licensed as commercial pilot and a glider pilot. He is survived by wife Paula and two children.
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