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Long time Turlock grocer dies at 72
National Market owner and community leader Jing Ow passed away on June 10. - photo by Photo Contributed
The doors of National Market closed early on Friday and remained shut today in observance of the passing of Jing Ow, the store’s longtime owner. Ow, 72, died June 10.
From the time when he was a young teenager to his old age, Ow was a regular presence at the hometown grocery store he helped build. From stocking shelves to placing orders, Ow worked tirelessly to keep his family business thriving, even when larger corporate grocery stores moved into Turlock.
“It was like his first child,” said his son Donald Ow. “He put a lot of work into this place to maintain it over the years.”
Ow was born in Canton, China in 1936 and immigrated to America with his parents as a young child. The family spent some time in Merced and Hanford before eventually settling in Turlock, where they opened their little neighborhood market on East Avenue.
Ow left school as a freshman to help the family business. Under his leadership the family business grew and gained a reputation among Turlockers for having one of the best meat counters around. But, no matter how busy Ow got with the store, his family said he always made time to chat with his customers and swap stories with them.
Both his native country and his new homeland shared a special place in Ow’s heart said his son. He was a long-time member  of the Fah Yuen Benevolent Association of San Francisco, serving the Chinese community throughout San Francisco, the Central Valley and the Fah Yuen district in China. He also was a brother of the Turlock Masonic Lodge for 50 years and a member of the Scottish Rite and Shriners Club in Oakland and Turlock.
Ow was deeply committed to serving the Turlock community, according to his family. He was a big supporter of youth sports, Boy and Girl scouts, school fund raisers and the city’s Junior Miss program.
Ow made a lasting impact on Turlock when he started the Turlock Community Christmas basket with Sacred Heart Church. Over the years the food drive grew from the back room of National Market to the full-scale charity campaign sponsored by several businesses, community groups and the fire department.
Ow was honored with the Paul Harris Fellow Award from the Turlock Rotary Club for Community Service and the lifetime achievement award from the Stanislaus Groceries Association.
“He was a great father and a man who liked to lead by example,” said Donald Ow. “He was very proud of this community.”
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.