Calvin was proud of his US citizenship, having emigrated from China to Washington, DC at the age of 7 with his father, Dr. Ching-Chun Liang, mother, Hsiao Shiu-Hsien, and siblings, George, Helen, June, and Eugene. The family settled in Brookland, NE Washington, DC, due to Dr. Liang’s seminal appointment with the International Monetary Fund. Calvin doted on younger siblings, Kate, Eugene, and Horace.
Calvin’s work ethic and drive began as soon as he could pedal a bike – beginning with 2 paper routes at 8 years old with George, to a gas station attendant in middle school, and then an auto mechanic. He graduated from Northwestern High School (Md.) where he lettered in basketball, football, and tennis. Calvin attended Strayer University where he met his best friend (and later, best man), Gerry Gelfeld, and friend Felicite MacFarlane. Calvin was the editor-in-chief of the Ledger, co-captain of the basketball team, and graduated with a degree in Financial Administration.
On the most fortuitous New Year’s Eve of his life, Calvin went to a party at the Omni Shoreham hotel with friends and Elaine captured his eyes and heart and their love story for the Ages began. Ever devoted to one another, neither Calvin’s US Army service nor distance deterred their love. Elaine went on to study at Radford College and during a visit to her, Calvin proposed at the Virginia Tech duck pond near the home of his sister June, brother-in-law Joseph, and new-nephew, Michael. In 1968, Calvin & Elaine married near Elaine’s hometown in Maui.
They returned to Washington, DC where Calvin rose quickly to Comptroller of City Bank & Trust Company in Alexandria, Virginia; Accountant at Leopold & Linowes; and Controller at Julian Cohen Salvage Corp. He took a gamble – knew when to hold ’em, knew when to fold ’em, knew when to walk away – left accounting and founded Matrix Construction Co. He and lifetime friends, Ron Nash and Ken Wilson, began to build their first home together, January 1, 1970.
As a general contractor, Calvin was renowned for building and renovating homes for DC elite and never shying away from complex designs. Matrix holds the 5th home improvement license in Washington. Calvin’s superior craftsmanship earned him a base of loyal and longstanding clientele garnering prestigious referrals spanning over five decades. Calvin’s reputation was also as a disciplined and generous mentor to a devoted cadre of exceptional craftsmen, including his trusted foreman of over thirty years, William Donovan. Calvin saw every job through without exemption and always with Elaine logging thousands of miles managing materials and gathering estimates.
Over two decades ago, Calvin began renovation and total restoration and preservation of the Old French Embassy in Meridian Hill on 16th Street alongside Dr. J.D. Andrews of the Council for Professional Recognition. He continued preservation work there until his passing.
He always planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway, and did it his way. Calvin holds US patents and was a licensed real estate agent.
There were times for sure, when he bit off more than he could chew, but through it all, when there was doubt, he ate it up, and spit it out, he faced it all, and he stood tall.
His life’s work was also collected in his three-car garage (plus tool shed and lumber yard). Calvin enjoyed his work vans, convertible, and treasured ’79 Cadillac Seville. He always chuckled about leaving a dinner with Elaine and Tim & Susan Healy, and being pulled over for erratic driving when his seatbelt did not cooperate. Those officers radioed for others to admire the Seville and its whitewall tires and proper restoration. He traveled each and every highway in that Cadillac with Elaine in the passenger seat – to the Greenbrier, weddings, graduations, and innumerable car shows.
Ever the family patriarch to his devoted and adoring nephews and nieces he taught life lessons of strong handshakes and clean hands, the power of a well-timed (and brief) joke, and the blessings of synchronicity.
Calvin’s true devotion was as a father to Lisa, Amy & Mark. To Lisa, he taught victory & courage (never quit; always finish the job), forgiveness & transformation (every job teaches something new & needs different tools), and to be relentless (stubborn) in pursuing dreams. To Amy, he taught her how to be a builder – a builder of a beautiful and strong family (build each generation better than the last), to build a better tomorrow in childhood education (learn something new everyday), and to build herself to be steadfast in convictions and actions. And to Mark, who joined the Army at the same age as Calvin – he had long before built in Mark the Army values: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage – and always remembering their family roots.
He thought of life in seasons and always of Elaine – the poem he adoringly entitled Four Seasons: Gentle breeze, soft sunlight, wonder green, beauty spring, lovely Elaine / Elegant white, pure serene, winter cold, warmth my Elaine / Nature glow, flower bright, summer light, radiant Elaine / Auburn delight, harvest reign, complete rejoice, heavenly Elaine.
Knowing his final season was near and he was facing the final curtain, he knew he built and lived a life that was full. He knew he had been God’s faithful servant and he knew he could say: I did it my way.
Calvin is preceded in death by his parents, brother George Liang, sister June Wang, and sister Kate Liang. Calvin is survived and adored by his faithful wife, Elaine S. Liang; daughter Lisa (Alex) of Atlanta, GA; daughter Amy (Kendel) of Silver Spring, MD; son Mark of Alexandria, VA; 2 grandchildren; elder sister Helen Tang Yates of Wilmington, DE; younger brother Kuo-Yu Liang of Wilmington, DE; younger brother Horace Liang (Lorrie) of Sarasota, FL; cousins Liang Xiaoguang, Ming (Christine) Liang, and Ping (Lily) Liang; 13 nieces and nephews;19 great nieces and nephews; 1 great-great niece and 1 great-great nephew; best friends Gerry (Vivian) Gelfeld, Ron (Marta) Nash, and Ken Wilson; and a bevy of friends, colleagues, and clients.
The family will host a Celebration of Life at a later date. Expressions of sympathy, letters of remembrance, meals, or honorary and memorial contributions are welcome and may be coordinated by emailing [email protected]
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Published by Going Home Cremation & Funeral Care by Value Choice, P.A. on Feb. 15, 2022.