In memory of Kwang-Chu Chao, beloved husband, father, grandfather and teacher.
  • 88 years old
  • Born on June 7, 1925 in Chongqing, Sichuan, China.
  • Passed away on October 12, 2013 in Fremont, California, United States.

This memorial website was created in the memory of Kwang-Chu Chao. He was born on June 7, 1925 and passed away on October 12, 2013.

Kwang-Chu graduated from Zhejiang Unviersity in China. Later he won a scholarship to study in the United States where he received a PhD from the University of Wisconsin in Chemical Engineering. After great sucess in both industry and academia, KC settled down at Purdue University where he was eventually named the Harry Creighton Peffer Distinguished Professor.  As much as KC cherished being a professor, he also had many outside interests. He and his wife, Jiun, enjoyed regular ping pong parties with the Chinese community at Purdue, ballroom dancing, international travel, and seeing their grandchildren.  

KC is survived by his wife Jiun, two sons Howard and Bernard, their families. and his two sisters Zhao Guangyi and Zhao Guangxun. Howard and his wife, Dana, have two sons Andrew and Daniel. They all live in California.  Bernard and his wife, Cara, also have two children, Chloe and Zander. They live in Colorado. KC lived a long and productive life helping family, friends and students. We will remember him forever.

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Dear Friends and Family,
The memorial service for our father, Kwang-Chu Chao, will be held at The Sea Restaurant at 4269 El Camino Real, Palo Alto. The formal service will begin at 10:30 am, Sunday November 10, 2013. Please arrive a little earlier. After the service we invite all our guests to join us for lunch. Rather than send flowers, we ask that you consider making a donation in Kwang-Chu Chao's name to the Chemical Engineering Department at Purdue University. Besides his family, there was nothing that our father cherished more than both the people and his work at Purdue. You can make checks out to the Purdue Foundation and send them to: 

Purdue University
School of Chemical Engineering
480 Stadium Mall Drive, Room 1060B
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2100

So that we can get an accurate headcount for lunch, can you please let us know if you will attending by emailing
very truly yours,
Bernard and Howard Chao 

Posted by Howard Chao on 8th June 2016
My Dad is still a source of great strength and pride for me even tho he is gone. I can still feel his presence, his force of character, his goodwill, his wisdom. This has not faded, and I cannot imagine it will change over time.
Posted by Pat Nudi on 7th June 2016
I have many wonderful memories of KC. His great love of his family, and especially his four Grandchildren, was so important to him. Food and exercise was something else he so enjoyed. He never entered his home in California without bringing fruit and small treats for Chloe and Zander. He taught me to eat, and like, Chinese food. We've come along way, KC. Peace to you.
Posted by Doraiswami Ramkrishna on 21st February 2016
Me memory dates back to February 1972 when I attended the AIChE meeting in Dallas, Texas, visiting from India. I had never met KC but got into a cab to go to the airport (for a flight to Minneapolis) when he joined me in the cab. We introduced ourselves to each other and talked all the way to the airport. Little did I know then that 4 years later, he was to be my esteemed colleague at Purdue University. KC and Jean are very dear to me and my family. A special thing that binds KC and me is the fact that I currently hold the position of H.C.Peffer Distinguished Professor, which was his during his tenure at Purdue.
Posted by Mark White on 14th October 2015
Professor Chao accepted me as MS student in the Spring of 1972. He was just the right advisor to me at this time as I experienced quite a bit of personal growth during this time. He was kind, gentle and above else very patient. KC presented to me the role model of a Professor that I aspired to be. After joining the academy, we spoke about the profession. Warm regards to the family, Mark.
Posted by Lowell Koppel on 18th November 2013
It was my privilege to be your colleague over two decades. You exemplified scholarship, gentlemanliness and grace in everything I ever saw you do. You will be remembered by the thousands of students and colleagues whose lives you touched. Rest in peace.
Posted by Ray Mentzer on 13th November 2013
While Prof Chao may no longer be with us on earth his legacy lives on through the many lives he impacted. My time in graduate school comes with a flood of memories. He not only taught us thermodynamics, but many life skills regarding hard work, high quality and never giving up. Some of the most memorable times were at his home eating Mrs. Chao's famous egg rolls and playing ping pong.
Posted by Jame Yao on 10th November 2013
There is a Chinese idiom: 『Once a Teacher, for Life a Father-Figure. 』This can be an excellent description of my relationship with my be-loved Major advisor, Professor Chao. He will be remembered by me and my wife as a teacher, a mentor, a close friend, and as a father.
Posted by Jim Simnick on 9th November 2013
I remember Professor Chao as my PhD Advisor from 1974-1979. My fondest memories of him were at the dinners at his house with his graduate students. He and Jean Chao would prepare wonderful dinners and have great conversation into the evening. He really cared about his students and taught all of us how to do research. More importantly he taught us how to work with others.
Posted by Arvind Varma on 9th November 2013
Purdue ChE and our profession have lost a gentleman, scholar and a leader of the field, whose accomplishments will always remain fresh in our minds and continue to guide us in the future. I feel honored that I visited with Dr. and Mrs. Chao in August 2012 - we spent a memorable hour and a half together at their home. May he rest in peace.
Posted by Jane Parkman on 5th November 2013
I came to "know" KC during his time at Aegis. His son, Bernard, asked me to take KC for weekly walks. (I'm sure Bernard viewed the walks as more of an opportunity to get exercise while KC viewed them as more of an opportunity to talk.) And KC had many important stories:the rise of Mao, losing a son, love of science, family, music and beautiful gardens. A true "gentle" man and a scholar.
Posted by Yuch-ning Shieh on 22nd October 2013
A great scientist/engineer, a great teacher and a great friend! We first met Professor and Mrs.Chao in April 1972 in West Lafayette, Indiana. The last time we saw Prof. Chao was in late May 2013 in Fremont, Calif. We used to play ping-pong and have dinner together once every month. We will forever remember his big smile and hearty laugh. He will be missed by all of us who know him!
Posted by Cheng-jyi Song on 20th October 2013
Think of your smile always warm up my heart. Your positive attitude towards life will always live in my mind.Thank you and Jean for taking me as your little brother since I arrived at Purdue in 1972. Maybe we will meet in our next life and play ping-pong again.
Posted by Sam Zhu on 18th October 2013
齒德俱尊,廣留博才惠人間; 福慧兼備,眾仙迎請入淨天。 Rest in Peace our beloved uncle Chao.
Posted by RJ Lee on 18th October 2013
My year at Purdue under your direction is no doubt the most influential and memorable part of my life. Carrie and I are truly thankful for all the Thanksgiving nights playing ping pong and enjoying turkey dinner like we are part of your family. We will definitely miss you.
Posted by ChenWKC 惠開 on 18th October 2013
He was a great man, a gentleman in every sense of the word. We frequently chatted with him during his stay at the Aegis Gardens, where my mother also stayed for quite awhile. We certainly will miss him. May KC rest in peace.
Posted by Daniel Lee on 16th October 2013
You were so special, kind and beloved. We will always remember your smiles and will miss you. -- Hsiupu and Kee
Posted by Pen-min Lin on 16th October 2013
My late wife Louise and I enjoyed being members of the same ballroom dance clubs with you and Jean for over 30 years. I always remember sitting with you/Jean, George/Ruby Taso, and Wilfred/Lily Chen, at the same table, chatting and sharing snacks during dance breaks. We had a wonderful time together. You are a model of “Jun Zi” (person of noble character). We admire and miss you.
Posted by Pat Nudi on 16th October 2013
I fondly remember your love for your wife, children, and grandchildren. We were privileged to spend special occasions with you and your family. You never entered the Chao home without fruit for the grandchildren. How they loved blueberries and strawberries! May you rest in Peace . Fondly, Pat and Jim Nudi
Posted by Ed Sladek on 16th October 2013
I greatly appreciate Dr. Chao's intellect and energy not to his mention passion for ping pong & chess, which he passed on to his sons ... especially Bernard who schooled me in both. My condolences to the entire Chao family. May KC rest in peace.
Posted by Josephine And Chin Lin Ch... on 16th October 2013
Kwang Chu and Jean were one of the founding couples that formed the Ping Pong Party (PPP) in 1970. 43 years later, the PPP is still active and gets younger, thanks to their leadership. Every PPP member, former and current, remembers Kwang Chu as the senior-most, tallest ping pong player with the widest wingspan. Surely he is playing ping pong in a peaceful place now. But we miss him here.
Posted by Jeff Gaunt on 16th October 2013
I have fond memories of Mr. Chao from growing up right across the street from the Chao family. He was always very nice and welcoming to me when I wandered over asking if Bernard could play. I do also remember the ping pong parties, and the Chao family was instrumental in my love of the game today (I even have a ping pong table in my living room). Rest in peace.
Posted by Waifah And Lily Chen on 16th October 2013
KC’s American Dream realized as noted in his 2007 email to us: “…It is mentioned a number of times in your book…. It suddenly dawned on me how true what you say. Though I read it a lot, here and there, and everywhere.… Now it dawned on me, I really have realized a dream. And you made me see I really had a dream too, I am holding on it, without quite going for it! Thank you! Thank you!”
Posted by Ying Wang on 16th October 2013
念故人 王叔平、陳媖 風雨萋萋 楓葉紅黃 哲人已去 我心憂傷。思緒紛紛 念及過往 同年到校 授業課堂 相識經年 歲逾廿雙 。海外華人 愛聚一堂 乒乓會友 與時俱長 我等同僚 均為原黨。革履華服 一表堂皇 美惠賢妻 常伴身旁 夫婦相敬 我輩榜樣。 樂善好施 為人有方 家兄來美 鼎力相幫。退休數年 離校他往 親近兒孫 天倫之享。皇天悠悠 世事無常 哲人雖去 其伴茫茫 今思故人 感懷愴愴。
Posted by Tom Pai on 16th October 2013
A glorious and full life that added much to the world, community and to friends. Rest in Peace.
Posted by Joe Pekny on 15th October 2013
Thank you for a life well-lived and your many contributions. Rest in peace.
Posted by Susan Cannon on 15th October 2013
Thank you for being such a great role model and mentor for so many, including me. I won't forget you. May you find ease and grace in your transition.
Posted by Stanley Huang on 15th October 2013
Thank you for building me up, professionally and personally. I will always remember the time I studied in your group at Purdue. May you find peace and rest in a better place.
Posted by George Tsao on 15th October 2013
We had great fun together at dancing parties. We will always remember you as a fine gentleman with good qualities from Chinese and American culture.

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