Chung Wu, associate professor emeritus of biochemistry, died April 11, in Prescott, Arizona, at age 100.

Chung Wu
Chung Wu

He was born on Dec. 13, 1919, in Fuzhou, China, the sixth of eight children born to Zhe-An Wu and Shi-Ge Chen.

Chung studied Chinese classics and calligraphy and planned to study medicine. He came to the United States in 1947 as a graduate student and earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of Michigan in 1952. There, he met his future wife, Helen Lun Chen, who also received her Ph.D. in biochemistry from U-M. Coincidentally, they had been classmates in high school in Fuzhou.

Chung and Helen Wu were both research biochemists at U-M, and Chung also was an associate professor of biochemistry in the Medical School. Both retired in the mid-1980s. 

In 1987, they moved from Ann Arbor to Santa Rosa, California, then settled in La Jolla, California, in 1999. Later, they lived with their daughter Lucy Wu, and in 2017 Chung went to live with their daughter Jean.

Chung was preceded in death by Helen in 2008, and is survived by four children: Margaret Wu, Jean Wu, Lucy Wu and Stephen Wu (Nancy), and two grandchildren, Kevin and Kathryn.

Chung was a master calligrapher, an avid gardener, translator and interpreter of classic Chinese works (The I-Ching and Zhuang Zi on Daoism) and an unbeatable mahjong player.

Playing mahjong was a passion, which he shared with a group of friends in Ann Arbor. In 1973 he authored his book “An Advanced System for Playing Mah Jong,” a revised system of this popular centuries-old Chinese game, expanded, developed and codified over the course of years of play with these friends.

Chung’s long life spanned the collapse of the China he grew up in and a new, improvised life in the United States. He was innately passionate and had very strong ideas and convictions, which were mostly hidden behind his quiet and gentlemanly nature. Especially later in life, Chung was quick to laugh and enjoyed seeing others having fun.

His gentle nature was a gift to all of us, and to the world. And he is indescribably missed.

Chung was laid to rest next to Helen in San Diego, California.

Submitted by the Wu family