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Yung Chi Wu
Service: June 12, 2020 (Friday) at 11:00 - Zoom Personal Meeting ID (PMI) is 532 717 1591 and the password is 8yf2Fw
Location: DeVol Funeral Home, Gaithersburg, MD

Dr. Yung Chi Wu passed away peacefully in his sleep the morning of June 5th, 2020. He was born in a village in Guangdong, China, to a small landowner family in the midst of wartime China. In spite of the Sino Japanese War, he was one of the very few people from his Village that earned a coveted Bachelors of Science degree in Chemistry from the highly competitive and internationally renowned Sun Yat Sen University, also known as Zhongshan University,in Guangzhou, China. Shortly after graduation, at the height Civil War and with the rise of Communism in China, Yung Chi migrated to join his father in Cuba. He helped manage the businesses his father built in Cuba, but soon found that running grocery stores was not for him. He was a scientist and wanted to continue to pursue his passion. Yung Chi applied for and was admitted to the University of Houston in Texas for his master’s degree in Chemical Engineering. He then returned to Cuba to arrange for the immigration of the rest of his family to Cuba, as the situation in China was getting more dangerous for his wife, his mother, and his infant daughter. Yet again, Science called to him, and he returned to the US, to enroll in the University of Chicago, in Chicago, IL in a Doctoral program for Chemistry. After he received his PhD, he was recruited to work in Skokie, IL, where he was sponsored for permanent residency. Shortly afterwards, Castro's Cuba was declared communist, and Yung Chi arranged to move his family out of Cuba as part of the Cuban refugee’s effort.

Yung-Chi Wu’s research in electrolyte chemistry is widely known and cited. He worked in various prestigious research institutions, including IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Laboratories in Yorktown Heights, Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, TN, before settling at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (then National Bureau of Standards), where he spent 28 years as a Research Chemist. He was a prolific inventor with over 100 patents to his name, and received multiple awards, to include the highly prestigious IR100 award. As the consummate scientist, he continued to be active in his scientific work even after his retirement in 1995. Rather than getting another more lucrative job after retirement, he chose to continue to impart his passion and knowledge of his scientific work on future generations of scientists at NIST. For 25 years after his retirement, he went to work to his NIST office/lab every single day as an unpaid volunteer, to mentor younger generation of scientists who wanted to understand and learn his area of specialty.

Yung Chi Wu was a fiercely independent 98 (by Chinese calendar) years old man and he drove himself everywhere, until March 15, 2020, when he was forced to stay at home because of the pandemic restrictions. He loved to eat good food, and each Wednesday, he drove to a local Chinese restaurant to meet with his friends for lunch -- something he has been doing since shortly after he started working at NIST in 1968 . He had been designated the "restaurant finder"-- and you could be sure that if there is a new Chinese restaurant in the area, he would find it. The restaurant owners and wait staff would get to know him well, and he would challenge the chefs to create new dishes for him and his friends.

He deeply cared for and loved his daughters and his granddaughters. He took strong interest in shaping their critical thinking, imparting his Confucian values and teachings to them. He relished every moment he spent with his family. Yung Chi’s spirit, his love, and warmth will be missed. Yung Chi is survived by his two daughters and their families, Belkis Leong-Hong (husband Ken) of Gaithersburg, Maryland and Gloria Wu, MD (husband Paul Wang, MD) of Saratoga, California. He leaves three granddaughters: Denise Leong Williams (husband Dan) of Arlington, VA.; and Catherine and Margaret Wang of California,

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DeVol Funeral Home