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Remembering March Fong Eu, The American Notary’s Most Influential Friend And An Ultimate Achiever

March Fong Eu.jpgMarch Fong Eu, California’s Secretary of State for nearly 20 years and the American Notary’s most influential political leader and ultimate achiever, died over the weekend at the age of 95. She will be missed, but never forgotten. The National Notary Association’s Achievement Award is named in her honor for her tireless work for Notaries over the years and for her persistence in creating the strongest and most effective Notary law in the country despite incredible lobbying efforts by powerful real estate, title, banking, legal and insurance interests.

Her efforts to get a comprehensive Notary law passed in the California legislature took her three persevering tries with only the NNA as a major supporter. But she made it happen on her third attempt in 1978 after she declared to her detractors, “I’m not going away until we have a strong Notary law in California.”

California Notaries since have been generally regarded as the most educated and prepared in the nation as they work to prevent fraud during what may be considered a challenging time in history due to technological advances that often work against Notaries. Thanks to Secretary Eu’s early efforts, the state’s mandatory notarial recordkeeping requirements, adopted by many Notaries throughout the country despite laws in their state that don’t require them to do so, are the most effective in the battle against fraud and identity theft today. The irony is that the recordkeeping mandate that Eu insisted on in her legislation served as the basis for major opposition by industry groups.

“March Fong Eu was perhaps the most dynamic political female leader in California during her term as Secretary of State, and she will long be remembered for her early championing of women and Notaries before it became fashionable and popular for the underserved to receive needed attention and political support,” said NNA Chairman Milt Valera. “I am honored to have known March Fong Eu for more than 40 years and pleased that we were able to work closely together on historic legislation for Notaries.”

The NNA’s March Fong Eu Achievement Award honors an individual or organization every year who best exemplifies the dedication, commitment, perseverance and spirit of Secretary Eu in serving Notaries. The coveted award is presented each year at the Association’s Annual Conference.

Secretary Eu was a potent symbol of persistence in her life, as evidenced by her work for Notaries. And her dedication and leadership in California — and all over America — for women further illustrated an energy and determination to serve the disenfranchised. The fact that about 70 percent of Notaries were women in in the 1970s helped to draw her interest.

Before becoming Secretary of State, Eu served four years in the state Assembly and campaigned against pay toilets, striking a theme for women who she said symbolized their second-class treatment, requiring them to have to fumble for pocket change in their purses just to use a bathroom. Eu became the first female Secretary of State in California, receiving a record 3.4 million votes in the process.

Eu’s persevering attitude in everything she did came from her Chinese ancestry, she admitted. Eu was the daughter of Chinese immigrants in Northern California and was born March Fong in 1922. She was often told that her ethnicity would prevent her from advancing in school or in a career despite outstanding academic performances. In the end, Secretary Eu earned a Bachelor’s Degree in dental hygiene at UC Berkeley, a Master’s at Mills College and a Doctorate in education at Stanford University.

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Nancy Gould

02 Jan 2018

Thank you for the great tribute and review of March Fong Eu's contributions to Notaries eveywhere.

Shelley L Law

10 Mar 2019

March Fong Eu became a friend of my grandmother, who was the county clerk of Mariposa County. I attended a seminar at one time where the Secretary of State was speaking. She was a very intelligent person and an incredibly dedicated and fastidious worker.

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