Bambi Nancy Shen passed away peacefully at home on February 24, 2016 at the age of 76. Bambi was born Dec 26, 1939 in Saigon, Vietnam to father Tsu-hsun Shen and mother K’e-chen (Kuo) Shen. Her father was an Ambassador of the Chinese Government and was stationed at many different locations throughout her life, including Tahiti and Africa. At the age of three, Bambi and her family were interred in a Japanese Concentration Camp during WWII. After the war, she attended French preparatory schools in Vietnam and was training to become an Olympic high jumper. Abiding by her parent’s wishes, she gave up her dream of the Olympics and came to the United States in 1954 to pursue a higher education. She attended St. Catharine’s College in St. Catharine’s, KY, and completed her degree at Siena College in Memphis, TN. Later, she earned her Master’s Degree in French Literature at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.
Bambi owned the Chinese restaurants, Bambi’s Kitchen and The Golden Palace. She was also a tour guide for Rural Route International, leading tours to China, France, Italy, and many others. Bambi also spent 9 years taking care of her Mother in Taiwan during the last years of her life.
In 1995, Bambi married Gene Foster. With Gene’s love and support, Bambi authored The Uncrushable Rose, a memoir of her life. She participated in many philanthropic and cultural groups, including The Zonta Club and The Edgar Snow Memorial Foundation. She was an active member of the UMKC Alumni group and Sister Cities. She was a founding member of Homes from the Heart, a non-profit organization dedicated to building houses for homeless families in El Salvador. Bambi was invited to speak at conferences both locally and around the world on topics ranging from women’s empowerment and equality to her life story. In addition, Bambi offered translation services to St. Luke’s and KU Medical Centers for patients who did not speak English. Bambi was fluent in Mandarin Chinese, French, English, and Spanish, and was able to communicate in Italian, German, and Cantonese.
Bambi was an active member of Unity Temple on the Plaza since 1974.
She is survived by her husband, Gene Foster of Kansas City, MO, son Gregory and wife Cindia Cole of Athens, GA, son Michael Cole and Lara Schulz of Woodstock, GA., brother Max Shen and wife Rhonda of Reno NV, and step-son Scott Foster of Kansas City MO. And grandchildren, Ryan & Rachel Cole and Shawn Cole.
Memorial services will be held March 5, 2016 at Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W 47th St. Kansas City, MO 64112. Visitation will begin at 12pm with services beginning at 1pm, reception to follow.