Rafael Ko

Obituary of Rafael Ko

Rafael Ko (1944 - 2024)

Rafael Ko, beloved husband, father, and grandfather, aged 79, passed away peacefully at his home in Bedminster, NJ, on Tuesday, January 2, 2024, surrounded by his loving family. Born in Zhongshan, China, Rafael spent his early years in Hong Kong before embarking on a journey that took him to West Germany and eventually to the vibrant streets of Manhattan's Chinatown. 36 years ago, he laid down roots in New Jersey, where he and his family lived in several towns across Somerset County - starting in Somerville, then Hillsborough and Warren, before finally settling in Bedminster.

Rafael's professional life was marked by dedication and hard work. In Hong Kong, he managed finances as a bookkeeper for a local school. Once in the States, he started as a waiter in several restaurants in New York City.  Later, he contributed over 20 years as the owner and manager of the Golden Dragon Chinese Restaurant in Hillsborough, until his retirement.

A devout Catholic, Rafael was a member of St. Joseph’s R.C. Church in New York and Immaculate Conception RC Church in Somerville. His faith was a cornerstone of his life, providing strength and guidance through all his endeavors.

Rafael's passion for Elvis Presley's music was unparalleled. He found joy in the iconic tunes of the King of Rock and Roll, often finding comfort and happiness in his melodies. A movie enthusiast, he particularly enjoyed Elvis films, along with a good mix of action and Westerns. His hobbies included collecting coins and playing mahjong with family and friends.  Above all, Rafael relished a good meal, a simple pleasure that he often shared with his loved ones.

At his core, Rafael was a devoted family man. His dedication to his family was unwavering, and he cherished every moment spent with his three adored grandchildren. His legacy is one of love, commitment, and the joy of life's simple pleasures.

Rafael was predeceased by his brother Anthony Ko and sister Luzmila.

He leaves behind his loving wife of 53 years, Pui Lin Ko; his son Martin Ko; his daughter Carmela Phan and her husband Au Phan; and his cherished grandchildren Aidan Ko, Benjamin Phan, and Olivia Phan. He is also survived by his sister Angela Lee.

A visitation will be held on Sunday, January 7, 2024, from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM, at Higgins Home for Funerals, 752 Mountain Blvd., Watchung, NJ 07069. The funeral mass is scheduled for Monday, January 8, 2024, at 11:00 AM at Our Lady of the Mount Chapel in Warren, NJ, with the burial to follow at Fairview Cemetery in Westfield.

Rafael's journey may have ended on earth, but his spirit and the memories he created will forever live in the hearts of those who loved him.



Visitation at Funeral Home

2:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Sunday, January 7, 2024
Higgins Home for Funerals
752 Mountain Blvd.
Watchung, New Jersey, United States


11:00 am
Monday, January 8, 2024
Our Lady Of The Mount Chapel
167 Mt. Bethel Rd.
Warren, New Jersey, United States

Final Resting Place

1:15 pm
Monday, January 8, 2024
Fairview Cemetery
1100 East Broad Street
Westfield, New Jersey, United States
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