Rev. Fong Dickman, originally known as Fong, Tak Man, was born in 1860 in Yan Ping, Kwangtung [Canton or Guangdong], China. He came to Canada in 1884 to seek a better life. Initially Mr. Fong made a living by driving stagecoaches between Vancouver and New Westminster, B.C. While attending a mission school at night, first in New Westminster and subsequently in Vancouver, Fong developed a keen interest in Christianity. He was baptized at the Princess Street Methodist Church in Vancouver, and appointed to the Chinese Methodist Church in Nanaimo in 1898 as a missionary at large. At that time, his name was Anglicized to “Dickman.” In 1906, Fong Dickman was transferred to Vancouver to set up and produce the Wa-Ying Yat-Po, (华英日报, the Chinese-English Daily Newspaper, 1906-1909), one of the very early (if not the first) Christian newspapers in the Chinese language published in Canada. After 25 years of service, Fong Dickman was ordained by the Methodist Church of Canada in 1923. During his lifetime, he served in pastoral ministry at Nanaimo (1898-1906 and 1913-1921), Vancouver (1906-1913), New Westminster (1922-1930), and Edmonton (1930-1939). Rev. Fong Dickman retired in 1939, living in New Westminster until 1942, then residing in Vancouver from 1943 until his death on April 10, 1946.
Fong Dickman married Jane Chang in Victoria in 1899, and the couple had four daughters: Lavina Fong Dickman, who later became Lavina Cheng; Esther Fong Dickman; Anna Fong Dickman, who became Anna Lam; and Mary Fong Dickman (who died at a very young age). Aside from their loyal assistance with the church work, Anna was the first Chinese Canadian to become a registered nurse in B.C. and Esther, a school teacher in Vancouver. Mrs. Fong Dickman died in 1927. Beyond missionary work, Rev. Fong Dickman enjoyed creative writing, featuring early Chinese immigrants from his pastoral perspective. Rev. Fong Dickman was a philanthropist, who was noted to have supported a missionary in the city of Fat Shaan in Fong Dickman’s native province in south China.