- 42 years old
- Date of birth: Jan 12, 1972
- Place of birth:
- Date of passing: Jun 15, 2014
- Place of passing:
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
|Linda Kao created a lasting imprint with her deeds. Let us contribute by sharing our memories of her.|
Linda Kao passed away on June 15, 2014. Linda's legacy is yet unfinished in the hundreds of hearts she personally touched and the millions of lives through her world-class work in epidemiology. As we share stories of Linda, we can all gain a greater appreciation for the depth and quality of her heart and soul.
In lieu of flowers and gifts, the family requests that donations be made to the Linda Kao Memorial Fund at http://www.jhsph.edu/giving/make-a-gift. Per Linda's wishes, the memorial service involved immediate family.
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health held a public tribute event in her honor on October 15, 2014 at 4pm in the Sheldon Hall on campus. Over 180 friends, family, colleagues, and trainees attended this tremendous event filled with love and science. The video from this event is available at: https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/share/WeZkCA9VID6wXYUsV6tuV4CYJgqQZNNA2LUTY4CznUI
On June 1, 2015, Allison, Linda's beloved niece, graduated from McDonogh Middle School and started McDonogh Upper School (high school) in Fall 2015. Linda would be proud of her accomplishments: she has placed into all Honors mathematics and science courses; finished her freshman year on the Dean's List; and will be taking Chemistry this summer.
Linda's trainees in Genetic Epidemiology continue to succeed. Poojitha Balakrishnan and Mandy Li completed the Doctor of Philosophy Program in Epidemiology and graduated from The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health on May 21, 2015; they have both begun post-doctoral fellowships. Dr. Adrienne Tin, who completed her PhD and post-doctoral training with Linda, was appointed as an Assistant Scientist in the Department of Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Linda's scientific legacy also continues in the peer-reviewed literature. Thirty-eight of her articles have been published since her passing.
"Miss you Linda! The last piece of my thesis just got accepted for publication today. You planted a seed in me and now it grows."
"Happy 45th dear Linda. I remember birthday dinners fondly. Your impact on us is ever-lasting!"
"I think of Linda everyday and miss her smile and laugh. I miss asking her thoughts on a multitude of things we talked about. Love you, Rulan"
"I didn't know Linda long, but I knew her well enough to appreciate her outstanding qualities of warmth and care, her love for Warren and joy in her marriage. Her legacy is inspiration to all who knew her.
"The plant we brought home from Linda's memorial gathering started putting out flowers a few days before her birthday, which made me smile."
"Thinking of you on your birthday. You are very much missed!"
"Remembering and missing Linda on her birthday. She left us too soon."
"Remembering Linda on her 44th birthday...miss you, friend."
"I still remember the day that Linda asked me whether I'm interested in this project. After 3 years effort, we finally submitted the manuscript last week. Thank you Linda for all the inspiration and encouragement."
"Thinking of you today as always, sweet Linda."
"Today would have been Linda's 44th birthday. I think about her every day. Even though my main thoughts are just about how she left us too early and how things would have been so different if she were still with us, I am inspired by her to strive to live a life in which I focus on the present. She enjoyed life to its fullest and was hopeful despite all circumstances. I am lucky to have known her and to have the opportunity to learn from her every day."
"I am just seeing this. I am so sorry to hear this. I miss you Linda!"
I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
as long as I’m living
my friend you’ll be.
~with apologies to Robert Munsch"
"I just looked at the gallery photos again and Linda's smile and happy demeanor still makes me smile too. She will always be remembered with much love and fondness. She touched so many of us with her kindness and big heart... definitely forever missed."
I think about you everyday and will always remember your kindness and strength. We all miss you."
"I am still amazed how many lives Linda touched and the breadth of her influence. Our time with Linda was very short but she is not someone we will ever forget as the level of her warmth, enthusiasm, positive attitude and love are uncommon in this world. She was a gift sent to all of us for a short time and she was greatly appreciated."
"Hardly a day goes by that I do not think about Linda - our Departmental poster, prominently displayed around the Wolfe Street Building, has a wonderful photo of Linda animatedly talking with students. She is very much part of the Department's DNA."
"It is hard to believe a year has passed since you left this world. I remember discussing and debating science and planning projects with you in the Welch Center as if it were last week. Your presence and your smile within us has not faded a bit."
"I think of Linda often. Her wide, beautiful smile, her wonderful dimples and her warmth were rays of sun to everyone who knew her. My times with her were too short and far between being a continent apart, but the life and light she brought into a room will always be her legacy to me and our family. I am especially grateful for the love and life she shared with Warren."
"Linda is often in my thoughts. I see her beautiful, wide smile, those wonderful dimples and feel her warmth. She was ray of sun wherever she was. My times with her were too short and too far between being a continent apart, but the life and light she brought to everyone who knew her, will always be her legacy to me and our family."
"When I look back over the past year since Linda's passing, I am even more struck by how much strength she demonstrated and how she really lived life. Her way will always be something for which I will strive - personally and professionally."
"The last paper that I wrote with Linda was just accepted for publication. We were finalizing it last year at this time. I am grateful to have been able to work with Mandy Li, Linda's last PhD student, on this over the past year. Mandy stepped up and provided the expertise that we needed to complete this. Linda would be proud; she is now a post-doctoral fellow. I look forward to our future collaborations that started with Linda."
"Have been thinking of Linda frequently the past few days and wishing we could celebrate today with her. I know we would be laughing frequently and eating great food. :)"
"Remembering my dear friend Linda or her Birthday!
Happy Birthday my friend....
Miss running with you!!
"Running, writing, and smiling
Initially, I got to know Linda well through our common interest, namely running, rather than academic collaborations, which occurred later. My first recollection was a race called Penguin Pace, which takes place each year in early February. Although I don’t recall the year, I do recall the setting: it was a frigid day in which the temperature was well below freezing and the wind howled. Still, Linda and I were both masochists – we enjoyed the run despite the temperature (and the ice on the roads). In more balmy conditions, Linda and her niece participated in a race that I directed – the Viking 5k, a fund raiser for my local high school. In 2006, Linda and I started a Welch Center traditional – we ran as part of a four person relay team that completed the Baltimore marathon.
Occasionally, we did collaborate, including one of her last major papers - the APOL1 paper from the AASK and CRIC studies, which was published in the New England Journal. While the eventual product was impressive, what I recall is Linda’s steady work at the helm, her generosity in co-leading the combined AASK-CRIC paper, and her tremendous insights into the genetic epidemiology of kidney disease. In classic Linda form, she was a tour-de-force, but at the same time preferred to let others take the limelight.
While students appreciate Linda as a quintessential mentor and while colleagues appreciate Linda’s collaboration (and collegiality) as a pre-eminent scientist, I will forever remember her smile. Effortlessly, she beamed. As I scanned my files for photos of Linda, I was repeatedly struck by her radiant smile, and that is my fondest memory of Linda."
"I remember when I was a fellow and Linda was a doctoral student we met because we shared a trainee office in the Welch Center. We had some fun times in that small space. Even back then, I noticed Linda was always focused with her work. At the same time she was very devoted to her family and cherished her friends and fun times. She was brilliant yet humble. She always seemed to be happy and optimistic. Linda was a real mensch. I am privileged I got to know her and be with her on the Welch Center Faculty. May her memory be a blessing."
"I remember playing a round of golf with you near your house in Columbia, Linda.
I really appreciated you offering to fix me a meal when I visited your brother, Mike.
I still remember you eagerly explaining me how DNA analysis works.
We talked only a few times all together, but the memories of you being energetic, thoughtful, and very kind will stay in my heart forever."
"Since I first met Linda in 2005, she has always been a role model. She taught Genetic Epidemiology with great enthusiasm and sparked my interest in the topic. I have been fortunate to work with her ever since, as her student, her trainee and fellow, and later as a colleague. I have learned so much from Linda - not only how to approach things scientifically, but also how to work in large collaborations and to interact with colleagues to maximize the impact of any project. I have always admired Linda not only for her sharp mind, but also for her modesty, patience and empathy. She has gone to great lengths to mentor all of her trainees, and I am grateful for and inspired by how she has helped me over the years.
Moreover, Linda has also been a friend and a role model for how to balance a successful career with a fulfilling and happy family life. Although she worked so hard, she always made time for her family and friends, and was so thoughtful to always remember even little details. For example, Linda repeatedly sent care parcels with Kraft's Mac and Cheese to my daughters when we moved to Germany, because this culinary highlight cannot be purchased in Germany. When I was in the hospital in 2011, she immediately sent my daughters a gift to make them feel better, even though she had so much to deal with herself.
Thank you, Linda, you are in our thoughts always! Love, Anna"
"I will always recall with fondness Linda's wonderful smile and great laugh. She was a beloved college friend and sorority sister. It is hard to imagine that she is no longer with us in this world but memories of her will last with us forever."
"I worked with Linda for a little less than a year as a research coordinator for the PACE study. She was the person who interviewed me for the position. She was so warm and down to earth and made me feel at ease despite my nervousness. I admired her so much, especially her ability to be a strong and intelligent leader while always being kind and making sure everyone on the team was heard. As someone who tends to be on the quiet side, I really appreciated her leadership style. Her genuine humility and interest in my thoughts always made me feel like a valued member of the team, even when I myself might have doubted it. She was really a role model for me because she was proof that a person (and particularly a woman) who is not always the loudest in the crowd can be a strong and successful leader. I'm so sorry to hear of her passing and I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to work with her."
"I met Linda when she was a bright, ambitious PhD student working in the lab of University of Maryland. She was smart as always, but warm, kind and had a great sense of humor. We talked a lot about the work, of course and future as she was trying to figure out and our families. One day before Thanksgiving, when I came back from outside. I saw she and her cousin holding a warm apple pie in front of my house and you could see the flour on her clothing.........As she started taking off her career, we did not get to talk each other much. However, I know the steps she had taken and felt so happy and proud of her! I had a hard time to take the news. Every time I think of her, I see this bright smile in front of me. Linda, this is the gift from you and I will miss you."
"Linda was such a wonderful mentor and colleague who fully supported me since day 1. Not only she was one of the most intelligent persons who I have met but she was also extremely generous and humble. I feel extremely lucky to have worked with her and will miss her a lot."
"Dr. Kao was an amazing teacher. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from her. She will be greatly missed."
"I was shocked today to hear of Linda's untimely passing. In the little time I knew her, it was clear that she was a dynamo, ready to take on any and all challenges. It was a pleasure working with her for the MIT Club of Baltimore and as an Educational Counselor in our region. She will be sorely missed."
"What was terrible news that my kidney tumor had spread to my spine turned out to be a God-given gift. Having Linda as my roommate in the hospital gave me more than my heart can describe, but I will try. Linda gave me: Strength within my soul that allowed me to walk and build up my endurance. Respect for the attitude she always carried on her person - giving to others instead of herself and her situation. Her knowledge and explanations of the information from my doctors. Hope that each new protocol would be the answer to her healing a well as mine. Trust in God that His plan was the one that would redeem us as we walk along the path to wellness in body and spirit. Laughter that made my heart smile. Hugs that warmed me. Quiet moments of peace and resolution. All this and more from someone I knew for less than a year. She will always be in my thoughts and prayers."
"Linda and I first met and became good friends in 6th grade. Although we did not see each other often, we still kept in touch regularly after high school. She was always a loyal, honest, trustworthy, dependable and generous friend. A person who was devoted to her family, constantly striving toward excellence in every area of her life, I have always respected and admired her. Apart from her many academic accomplishments, she will be remembered as a true friend. She will be sorely missed. My heart goes out to her family."
"Linda was the newest member of our family. She arrived preceded by vague descriptions and speculation. We had heard that cousin Warren was "seeing someone" and that she was really smart. When we heard she was as smart and accomplished as Warren, that really intrigued us. Even among the over-achieving members of our family who aren't intimidated by big-name college degrees, Warren is in another category. For him to be dating someone he considered really smart meant that she was either not from this planet or needed a wheelbarrow for the extra brain capacity. When the big day arrived and we got to meet her, she turned out to be so…wonderful. Putting aside the Ph.D., the tenured professor at Johns Hopkins, a recognized authority in her field, yada, yada, she was a delight. She blended seamlessly into our diverse family landscape and was able to share in all the laughter that accompanied our boisterous family gatherings. We were grateful she kept coming back for more. Now that Linda's gone, we know she was a part of all of us because we miss her. While we're sad that she's not here, we're also grateful that we had the chance to get to know her. And we can look back and smile."
"Linda was one of my college classmates and sorority sisters. Like so many others, I will remember her for her warmth, humor, and grace. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family and all those close to her."
"Linda was a wonderful collaborator and role model. She was a humble yet brilliant analyst who helped guide our group to make great discoveries in a warm collaborative environment. I learned a lot from her about statistics, genetics, kindness and generocity. We will miss her."
"I met Linda 10 years ago @ boot camp at Supreme Sports, we quickly became friends and running buddies!
Linda was a wonderful human being , a true joy to be around.
I know that she now enjoys eternal life in heaven and will watch over her loving husband and family!
I will miss her and will forever remember her kindness!
I consider my self lucky for having had the honor to have known her!"
"We were so lucky to have Linda join our family. I will always be grateful to Warren for bringing her into our lives. She was a wonderful person - warm, friendly, thoughtful, smart and with a great sense of humor. I don't think anything I write here will be adequate. I miss her very much."
"I find it very difficult to describe my sense of loss. Linda had so many wonderful qualities. I will miss her warmth and joyful smile, her thoughtfulness and compassion, her integrity and dedication. I will never forget my dear friend and colleague."
"It has taken a while for Linda's passing to sink in. In a way, I have avoided leaving a tribute as it means this is final. As everyone feels, Linda was different - special if you will. Over the past several years, we have had many very blunt discussions. Linda didn't mince words, but she didn't hold back either. She considered me her "boss" which I found amusing, since we all are pretty much independent. I feel her loss every day as I pass her office. I will do everything I can to maintain her sense of professionalism, determination, and belief in science - and being a good person!"
"“My friendship with Linda developed through the running and fitness community in Columbia Maryland from about 2006 on. She was an avid runner and participated in a three day a week Boot Camp Program at the Supreme Sports Club in Columbia. It was a relationship based mainly on “misery loves company”. She was a trooper and could take whatever was thrown at her. I’ll will always have the memory of her running in the Ragnar Relay Race from Cumberland MD to Washington D C, after I had finished my fourth and last leg of passing off the virtual baton to her; I watched her takeoff up this incredible long and steep hill to carry our team into D C. A challenge she, no doubt, relished. Linda was a wonderful person and I am better for knowing her. May she rest in peace.”"
"I did not know Linda very well. I knew her best through my husband Fred. Linda was an early mentee of Fred's. He only had the most wonderful things to say about her. He always thought she was a brilliant scientist. But more importantly he thought she was a beautiful person. One of my earlier memories was when Fred told me she was leaving Hopkins to be with her sister and family during a family crisis. Fred was devastated that such a promising scientist would drop everything to return to Taiwan to help her family. But he also understood how important this was to her. It is just one example of how wonderful Linda was. Even when Fred was ill, he was so happy to learn that Linda was getting married to Warren. Despite not feeling well to travel, he and I were so happy to witness their wedding. It was a beautiful day and she shined with happiness. I will always remember her that way. She will truly be missed by so many. I think Billy Joel was right. "Only the good die young"."
"Linda help us a lot when our mom passed away.She will be greatly missed by our whole family"
"I met Linda before she was a PhD, a well-known epidemiologist, or a Professor at a top notch institution. I met her in 6th grade, when she first came to this country from Taiwan, as we were in the same homeroom class. At that time she could barely speak English, but her gentle and friendly nature ensured communication anyway! By the end of middle school, she was already in the top classes and getting the top grades--it's no wonder she made it so far in her life, though of course it was way too short. I send my condolences out to all of her family, with whom she was very close. She has an amazing legacy that will continue...."
"Linda left a lasting impression on me. She was one of those people who make you and your needs feel important. Her obvious interest and loyalty to the students was infectious. A bright light, a happy heart, the biggest smile. My sincerest condolences to her family."
"How fortunate we were to have been touched by such a lovely, warm, & brilliant person. Her impact clearly stretched far & wide. My most sincere condolences to her family & friends for the premature loss of this wonderful person."
"I met Linda in1995 when I worked with her on my very first research project at Johns Hopkins with Fred Brancati. Linda was working on her MHS at the time and I was an internal resident who knew a lot of clinical medicine but not an ounce of epidemiology! Linda was very patient with me and I learned a lot from her. She was one of the people who motivated me to pursue my own MHS. Linda and I attended our first American Diabetes Association Meeting together in 1997 and roomed together. I think we spent as much time shopping as we did attending scientific sessions! I will always remember her radiant smile, her gentle spirit, and her tremendous love for and dedication to her family. She was definitely a light for a season of my life that I will always remember. My thoughts and prayers are with her family. We loved her, too."
"Linda's loss is still so raw for me that it is hard to put into words how much she meant to me and my family. For now, I am going to paste in the announcement that I sent to everyone at the School of Public Health.
June 16, 2024
It is my incredibly sad duty to tell you that our School has lost a wonderful faculty member and many of us have lost a great friend. Wen Hong Linda Kao, Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and alumna of our School, passed away yesterday after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Linda came to our school after graduating from MIT and subsequently obtained both her master’s and PhD degrees at our School. She did a fellowship at Southwestern Research Foundation and then came on the faculty here.
Linda was an outstanding scientist, great mentor, and superb collaborator. I was privileged to work with her and was constantly amazed at both her intellectual abilities and her capacity for work. As an assistant professor, she was able to hold her own with a distinguished scientific advisory board for one of our studies that was hostile to our methodologic approach. Like many genetic epidemiologists, she collaborated with big groups to do team science but she also led a number of important studies. She did so with seemingly no ego, just a willingness to work together to do great science. As my wife Lucy said, Linda was such a good person that she was a model for everyone who knew her. Perhaps Linda best articulated the kind of friend and colleague she was when she once admiringly described to me a colleague as someone “you seldom see unless you need help, then he appears.”
I have attached a photo of Linda with her husband, Warren Goda, that was taken at a relatively recent celebration of her promotion to Professor. I chose it for two reasons: it shows her great smile and the obvious affection and love that she and Warren shared.
Warren told me yesterday that Linda and he were very grateful for the support that they received from colleagues and the School. We will work with the Department of Epidemiology and the Welch Center to have a suitable memorial of her very special life. As details of funeral arrangements become available, we will let you know.
Please join me in extending our deepest sympathies to Linda’s family, colleagues and friends.
"I went to college with Linda - we lived in the same form, and were in the same sorority together. Linda embodied many values - warm, loving, wisdom beyond her years, patience. I am deeply saddened to hear of her passing. My deepest condolences to Warren and her family."
"I'm saddened by this tragic news. I only knew Linda for a short time but immediately saw the brightness she brought to Warren's life. She and Warren were a quiet, elegant and completely compatible couple. My condolences to Warren, Linda's family, friends and co-workers. I know she was a truly special person."
"Linda was a wonderful light that came not only into Warren's life but ours as well. She met several of our friends in the short time we knew her and they all were shocked and saddened at her untimely death. Linda was such a warm and open person and very interested in others. She was easy to talk to and had such a broad range of interests. We will always remember her as such a genuine, lovely, and bright human being. The world would be a better place with more Lindas in it."
"Dr Kao was my academic mentor and supported me through one of the harshest phases of life and helped me complete my studies. I will always remember how her face lit up at the mention or sight of her dear niece and dog. She always had a smile on her face and was the face of confidence. You will always be remembered fondly, Dr Kao."
"Linda was married to my cousin, and I have three distinct, warm memories of her. First, I never saw her not smiling - broad, beaming and happy. Such a gift to us all. Secondly, she and Warren hosted our extended family at a Taiwanese restaurant in Seattle. Linda took charge (of course) of all the ordering, and soon large quantities of delicious and different dishes began to appear. We ate like Kings and Queens that evening. And finally, my wife and I were visiting the East Coast, and stopped by to see her. ( Warren was still out in California) We had arranged to go out to dinner with her, but when we arrived, she was, of course, cooking a full meal for us. She made everyone feel welcome and special."
"It has been an honor for me to work with Linda and be her mentee. She was always so enthusiastic and patient. I will always remember her strong support to me and her bright smile."
"Linda was a dear friend and colleague. She was one of the clearest thinkers and hardest workers I have ever known. I will forever cherish our time together when we were both new faculty with a "secret knock" to communicate between our office walls, writing haiku versus in her office to take a break, eating pho in columbia, and so many others. So many precious personal and professional memories. She has left a lasting impression on me and on so many others."
"Linda was a very special person in my life. Her and I spoke about many, many things during our lunches and e-mails. She was my rock. I will miss her more than anyone will ever understand."
"Linda was truly amazing, and while my contact with her was limited, she exuded so much genuine warmth, kindness in our interactions. Everyone who worked with her- colleagues and students alike, were fortunate to benefit from her unparalleled brilliance. She will, indeed, be forever missed."
"Linda was such a wonderful person and a great mentor. I'll always try my best to practice the scientific methods that I learn from her."
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