His Life

A Final Goodbye to Steven Hsiaofeng Chen

Steve was born in Taipei, Taiwan, on December 13, 1961, the eldest son of three children. He went to National Taiwan University for graduate study in Electrical Engineering from 1987 to 1989, came to the United States to continue his study in1991. He acquired his PHD in Computer Science in 1996 at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

Steve was a loving husband of 22 years to his devoted wife, Heather; a dedicated father to his beloved daughter, Joy; a talented engineer at Oracle; an active volunteer and founding member of the CACCC board; current President of MBS and a mindful practitioner of his Buddhist faith. Being with Steve in the last months of his life was a gift of love, insight, courage and generosity to many of us. He helped us through this passage toward our own maturity.

What drew us to him and why Heather and Joy called him “A Simple Good Guy”?

Wisdom. Yes, he was very wise. In response to the question on searching for the meaning of life, he said, “no, no, for the experience of being alive, life itself is a journey to me.”

Zest. Yes, he loved to talk, not that he tried to talk anyone into anything. He talked people into belief and he talked about  the knightly virtues of chivalry: loyalty, sacrifice and redemption.

An avid reader, writer and a movie fan. Yes, he always had spirit that demonstrated his love for Joseph Campbell’s “The Power of Myth”, the heroic movie “Black Hawk Down”, and Lee Oau’s “Bejing Fa-Yuan Temple”.

Learning. Yes, he learned to face death, to acquiesce to death. Heather asked him if he was afraid of dying, he said, “No, no, not at all.” Witnessing his gorgeous serenity, he understood where he was heading.

Friendship. Yes, he acted out his nature with that enormous capacity for affection. When friends asked for reconciliation, he said, “part of friendship consisted in accepting each other’s shortcomings.”

What did he make of his religion? Steve, the most eager, always a step ahead of others, realized that only Buddha’s voice brought him salvation, "Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional." His illness forced him to endure immensely. Yes, he understood it as the entire journey of his was nothing but a preparation of the soul. He said, “the source and the end always make a complete totality; there is no beginning and no end.”

Steve, 50, passed away peacefully on September 30, 2012 at 6:50 am.