Eulogies from the funeral, 24 June 2017
~ By Zhigang Wu ~
I still clearly remember the last time I met Chen Yu. It was exactly 20 years ago, June 24th, 1997, when I went to Beijing from my hometown to apply for a US visa. It was towards the end of the second year in our Master’s program in nuclear physics at Peking University, and about half of our undergraduate classmates were either in the US or going to the US over that summer. Later that afternoon, Chen Yu and two other classmates saw me off at a bus station near the Building of the Particle Accelerator. When the bus came, I bid them farewell and promised to “see you in the US”.
Finally, after 20 years, I see you, my friend and my classmate Chen Yu, here in the US.
But we cannot smoke together like before, when you showed off your skills of blowing perfect smoke rings, closely resembling the moon in the Weiming Lake. The wind has destroyed the mirrored moon and your smoke rings, long, long ago.
We cannot drink beer, red wine, or spirits together like before. Even drunk as a fiddler, you were still able to sing Flower Sacrifice and Sailing right on pitch. The sound of your songs have penetrated the time barrier separating our present from out past, when we were intoxicated by the dream and the passion.
We cannot run together any more. You were always trying to beat the speed of time, full of energy and youth, achieving everything as easily, smoothly, and promptly as running in Yanyuan every morning or night.
We cannot lift weights together any more. In that gym not far away from the Weiming Lake, how much sweat, laughter, and noise we had shed! You always tried to break your own records, inexhaustibly testing and approaching the limits of your body and spirit. I believe finally you have reached.
But what I regret the most is that we cannot talk together any more. We have discussed not only homework problems in math and physics, but also the deterministic chaos, the existence of supersymmetry, and the theory of unifying everything. We talked about loves, passions, and tears we went through during the brightest part of our lives. Your stories are as moving as those in classical novels we read and spoke about. In my reminiscence you particularly liked a short verse in the novel Gadfly written by Voynich:
Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die.
We also talked about history and military, debating on the successes and failures of the strategies of the Allies and the Axis in World War II. I was especially fond of our constant conversations about philosophy and religion. Though we had many different opinions on social ideals and social progress, arguing the meaning of the meaningless life, we agreed on the purpose of life is to enjoy so many wonderful things in this world.
We both believed in no specific regions, but your beliefs built through meditations on life and the universe were in agreement with those ancient great ideas, such as “This body itself is emptiness and emptiness itself is this Body… All phenomena bear the mark of emptiness” in Buddhism, and “I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind” in Christianity. You told me that the endless joys due to accomplishments, relentlessly overcoming our weakness, and reaching and going beyond our physical and spiritual limits were the only means to fill the emptiness in life, though it was not necessary. You believed that all our lives would be reborn, either in another form or in another universe, far, far away.
After 20 years, I have read and learned so much on physics, literature, history, philosophy, and religion, I have gone through a great deal of success, failure, love, family life, and struggles. But we cannot talk together any more.
How I want to talk with you!
I will always miss you, my friend. You will never become old, full of energy and youth forever, sailing with your dreams, passions, loves, and freedom, in the sky as blue as Lake Mendota.
May you rest in peace, as memory and the legend of you live on and on.
Finally, let me read a beautiful poem for you written by a friend of mine:
By Xie Chang’An
I was late.
I only saw a piece of dry larva of a longhorn beetle on the Begonia flowers,
Skins of cicadas on pagoda trees, and the clothes of butterflies under garden balsams.
Last night a person was gone and his house became empty.
From a spotted volute was flowing the music of an ancient xun.
Near the lake bank lay a mayfly, whose face was as white as wild rice, with an indistinct expression.
It had no patience to wait, just left.
The surface of the lake was calm.
The fateful coincidences I missed led to the same amount of melancholy in my heart.
Among the sprinkled wine,
Star light was scattered like flying snowflakes.
The space is vast and complicated.
Who sighed in a corner lonely?
And the time made your eyes blind,
Just like the deep night outside the window.
I heard the birds crying,
But could not catch sight of a single feather.
~ By Quan Chen ~
Remembering Yu Chen
I knew Yu Chen back in 2007 when he came to Madison to join the TomoTherapy innovation group. We hit it off very quickly as we were both single and shared a lot of common hobbies. We often went to restaurant to have lunch or dinner together, we went to gym and work out together, and we went to UW Shell stadium and skate together. We had a really good time.
Yu is a wonderful singer. He has a beautiful vocal and great sense of rhythm. He had a high-end microphone and professional recording software and he often made recordings of his own version of many popular songs. I saved those mp3s in my cell phone as well as my car stereos and showed it off to every friend of mine. I used to have no confidence in my voice and would never sing in front of others. At his encouragement, I begin to sing as well. Even though he was such a better singer, he never looked down upon me. No matter how bad I sang, he could always found something to compliment as well as tips to improve. Because of him, I have a new hobby: Singing.
Yu is a very nice person. About 8 years ago, I invited all my friends to have BBQ at my house. One of my friends brought her parents. Soon, young people chatted together and we neglect her parents. Yu noticed this situation. He walks up to them and offered food and beverages. Then he sits down and chatted with them throughout the entire party. The parents had a great time. Although they only saw Yu once, they remember him till this day.
Yu is an avid blood donor. I clearly remember that once while we both work at TomoTherapy, he fainted while giving blood. It was probably due to the shock from giving too much blood compared to his light body frame. I remember he was surprised by that reaction and told me that he regularly donated blood and never experienced this. He told me he donate blood a lot because it helps people. He had regularly donated blood when he was a student at Beijing. He got certificates which can give his relatives high priority when they need blood transfusion. He is very dismissive about some people’s belief that giving away blood is detrimental to health. His belief is that, blood making ability of human body, is like other abilities of human, if you don’t use it often, you will lose it. So donating blood is just like we go to gym to workout. I am sure he had donated blood that is many times of his body weight and I never doubt that many people had benefited from his generosity.
I am honored to be the person who introduce him the sports of ski, sailing and windsurfing. All of which he loved greatly, especially the windsurfing. We all know that he is an expert in windsurfing. However, when he first started, he struggled mightily. His entire first lesson was constant struggle trying to pull the sail from water. It took him about a month to get the light rating. However, he is a persistent learner. Never gives up! He went there almost every day to take lessons and to practice. He listens to instructors as well as watching windsurfing instruction videos. Next year, we all participate in the windsurfing race that is held every weekend. For rookies like us, to be able to complete the course is a feat. He was in the top-3 in his first race and quickly become the No. 1 in almost all the subsequent races. Now, people saw him windsurfing and may think he is born with it. But I know that those windsurfing skills are not natural gifts, it is obtained through the persistence, dedication, and lots of sweats.
It was during that second year when he was advancing his windsurfing skills, he had an accident. After finished a scow lesson, he misstepped when putting the boat back, fracturing his ribs. Doctor told him he has to rest for 2 months at least. While he couldn’t do any sailing or windsurfing, he still came to windsurfing deck every day. Sitting there watching the lake. His windsurfing buddies would poke fun at him. Once, Aki (or another friend) asked him, “I know you love windsurfing very much, but don’t you feel sad sitting here watch us have fun while you are unable to do it? Like a kid sitting in front of a candy box watching everyone else took candy but himself. How can you live with it?” Yu just said with a smile, “I am happy because I saw you guys are happy.” This is exactly the Yu Chen I know. He cares about you. He is the one that genuinely happy for other people. When you make a little progress, he may be the one happier for you than yourself. He has the purest heart, the heart of an innocent child.
~ By Chi Zhang ~
Back in the spring blossom by Chi Zhang
Yu and I became friends on the first day of college. In the past 27 years, although not together everyday, we have always looked out for each other. We are both the only children of our families, so I have always thought of him as my brother.
After the accident, many memories came back, and some soon got forgotten again. But there was this tiny, tiny thing that I just could not let go of. That was one day in college, a car suddenly flew by before us as Yu and I were crossing a street. Somehow, I joked with him that if I were to step out accidentally and got run over by that car right in front of him, it must pain him a lot. I remember Yu looked into my eyes with all seriousness and said, “No, you won’t, because I will hold you back.” Every time I thought of this, it greatly pained me, why didn’t I have a chance to hold him back in the afternoon of May 31st.
Lately, I have been talking about Yu a lot with my wife Dandan, and sometimes our 6, 7-year-old boys heard us talking. From time to time, they would run to us and ask, “Is Uncle Yu dead?” This saddened me deeply every time. At their young ages, they have not yet understood what death is. In their minds, Uncle Yu’s death just means they cannot see him for a while. They probably think, just like before, Uncle Yu came, and he was gone again. But before long, maybe just next spring when the flowers are blossoming, Uncle Yu would be at our door again, with an armful of toys, a big smile on his face. In fact, that is also my hope.
~ By Delai Zhou ~
Thank you everyone for attending today’s funeral for Yu. My name is Delai Zhou. I was Yu’s college classmate and roommate. We shared one set of bunk-beds for 4 years. Yu has a nickname called ‘laobang’ which can be directly translated into English as “old stick”. This name was initially started by me although I do not remember exactly when and why. In Chinese, it has many meanings, and the original intention was just to make fun of him. It was beyond my surprise that Yu accepted such a hilarious nickname gladly, since he knew that this would make everyone around him laugh, as he always did. “Laobang” has a secondary meaning in Chinese -- ‘extremely great’. Gradually, we forgot the hilarious original meaning of this nickname, and adopted the secondary meaning to represent him, because, with the way he lived his life, he truly lived up to it.
In those four years, every morning when I climbed down my bunk bed with sleepy eyes, the first sight was a very clean quilt stacked like a perfect box on a white bed sheet without any wrinkle. Yu would always be quietly sitting on the bed reading his favorite book of Feynman lecture on physics, or go outside for a long run. That picture was always my first memory of the day. Once I asked him how you could keep everything so organized and clean, his answer was ‘if you started to do it since you were a little kid, it would come naturally’. Upon college graduation, he told me that, he admired my strength of ‘being persistent’. You know, that is exactly what I wanted to tell him, he is one of the most persistent people I know. Needless to say, Yu was one of the best all-around students in our class. He exceled not only in classroom, but also in sports. Both Yu and I love distance running and we used to chase each other all the time.
I remember there was a race, after he passed me at the finish line, he told me that he was very exhausted and almost passed out. He managed to cross the finish line by visualizing a piece of steak in front of him and trying to grab it with each step closer. That has always been his signature attitude- just do your best. Only a few weeks ago, I made him join the Peking university distance running club. We exchanged ideas of running healthier and also talked about running a marathon sometime together in the near future. It will be my biggest regret in life that I will never have the chance to finish a marathon with him.
Yu was a caring person and loved to share his happiness with friends. One favorite conversation topic in our dorm was Yu telling story of his past or ongoing adventures, including his love stories and we -- a bunch of singles loved to analyze and contribute ideas. Yu did not play video games in college, but he enjoyed watching others playing. Once he even rent the video game for me and just watched and cheered for me the whole night.
During the deadly earthquake in Wenchuan, China in 2008, Yu showed great kindness and love. He was actively calling everyone he knew in that affected area to express concerns and offer help. He sent me a video link about a poor guy that was buried alive for days and witnessed to die once he was pulled out. He said he was so deeply touched by the tragedy that each time he watched he could not help to feel sorry for the people and wish he could be there to help. Yu did not just say it, he actually tried his best to help. After he donated hundreds of dollars, he learned that my wife’s company would match 100% for the donated amount. He immediately sent a check to donate more. Some may think he did not have to do this again. His response was, ‘I do not have much spending nowadays and would be happy to see the money with better use’.
When Yu got the job offer and told me that he was coming to Madison, I told him that he would love Madison for sure because there is a very beautiful lake called Mendota and lots of people windsurfing on it. The whole scene is as pretty as a picture. Although I have not seen him surfing myself, I can envision him surfing like a bird and the high-rise sails are his wings. Just like what he said, relax and trust your feeling, the wind will take you fly. There is a famous saying, ‘Someone dies, but he is still alive’. Yu, you will be missed dearly. We know you are flying freely in another world.
~ By Haidong Xia ~
What happened? How could this happen? With tears running down, I have been asking the same question over and over when I got notified.
However, it is, what it is. Yu is gone… He left us, leaving us with broken heart.
Once in a while, my son asks me some questions like, “who is your best friend?”, “who was your best friend in college”? I say it is Yu. Then he keeps asking how come he didn’t see I talk to him very often. I said because he is my best friend. It is in your heart. Whenever you need to call or see him, he is there.
However, what happened left me with deep regret. I regret I didn’t talk to him that often. I regret I didn’t come to see him or invite him to my place very often. Yu is gone. Leaving me regret that will never be able to make up. Yu is my best buddy. We have been together for 1 year of military training before college, 4 years of college study, and 3 years of graduate school in China before coming to the states. All of the years, we were roommates, even I when went to Chinese Academy for graduate school, I found an unoccupied bed in Yu’s dorm, trying to stay close with my dear friend.
From classmates, roommates to dear friends, we lived, studied, and played together for almost 8 years. Unfortunately, we went to different universities and worked in different states once we came over here. Yu is a phenomenal himself. And with whatever contribution he made, people around him achieve.
Yu is smart and passionate. He is good at studying and research. When we had class in college, he always asked good questions and discussed them with professors. He is not there to learn, but also to master the subject. That is his passion. He is always passionate with what he does, no matter it is study, research, sports, etc.
Yu excels on almost anything he has interest. This is not only because he is smart, but also his passion and dedication. Whenever he is on something, he is really on and finds ways to do the best job. He never gives up. He tries to find the inside of whatever thing he does. This is what he is when he does anything: workout, skiing, windsurfing, etc. He almost masters the skills on all of the sports he is interested in because of his wisdom and passion.
Yu is always energetic. Even when he walks in the street, I see his elasticity. I can see his energy. When he does his work, he puts himself completely into it. Nothing stops him from finishing the work with excellent quality. All the years I have been with him, I didn’t see him complaining, but just hard work with good attitude.
Yu is not only passionate on what he does, but also has the passion to help and stimulate the same passion to the people around him. He is good at instructing and educating.
Yu goes to gym to work out almost every day and he was probably the only one doing work out regularly in my class in college. With his passion and persuading, I joined him to go to gym at the 2nd year of college. He is a very detailed person and gave me all the tips doing workout. Though I am lazy now, but what he has done to me has great help in my life. He never leaves you behind. He is always there to help you. Unfortunately, I live too far from him. But I do believe if I live close to Madison, I would have been windsurfing with him together, because he never leaves his friends behind. He always teaches the people around with enthusiasm.
Yu treats everyone around him well. He helps and never expects or asks payback. That is him. He has the true heart to help no matter how busy he is. He believes helping people is what his life for. Somehow, I got sick with fever every winter when I was in college. Yu always helped by getting hot water and went to cafeteria to buy meal and brought it back to my bed. Once I had very high fever, he even went outside to buy some stuff to put on my body to help cool down the fever. He is the one you can count on.
We had lot of good time. We spent night time talking different things with other roommates when it is bed time. These things can be the stars in the sky, or little things in the universe, or some funny stories. It was a lot of fun. I also remember the routine we exercise together: we went to gym; went to little grocery store to buy nutrition milk on the way back from gym; had a couple of cigarettes afterwards to relax. A lot of time, we went to the cafeteria in the school together. That is what friends do together. Life was really fun with him.
There was one time in college we could not find Yu. Several of us including Yu went to a place in Beijing city by biking. After it is done, we biked back. There were lot of traffic, but we biked fast, trying to get back to school before dark. We lost Yu on the way and could not see him once we arrived at school. We became anxious after waiting for a while and decided to go out to find him. We did not find him. However, he appeared in the dorm when we got back.
When I heard about the accident, I could not believe it was true. I said No. He will be back, just as before. How much I wish he would appear among us again, with smile.
I think my son will ask me the same question later. “Who is your best friend”? It is Yu. “How come you don’t talk to him anymore”? He is in my heart. He sailed away with his passion and energy. He left us good memory. His life is short. However, his excellence remains, with us.
Yu, rest in peace. It has been a wonderful journey with you in my life. Thank you my dear friend for whatever you have done for me, and for us. You will be forever missed.
--Your buddy, Haidong
~ By Chamond Liu ~
In memory of Yu Chen
I'm honored to be among those to speak this morning about Chen Yu.
I knew him because of windsurfing, but I'm going to begin and end elsewhere. Dandan and Chi know this part better than I:
Last fall Chen Yu's mother fell seriously ill. Fortunately she has since recovered fully. Over dinner last month, Chen Yu told my wife and me about him and his mother. It was an ordinary conversation, but two things moved me deeply.
First, he said he really admired his mother because she had the wherewithal to change her mental and emotional outlook when she realized how critical that would be for her recovery. She did what few of us can do -- displace ingrained behavioral patterns, which gets even harder the older we get.
Second, he said they understood one another. But their understanding was richer than simply thinking alike; they even understood each other when they disagreed. They could look within each other and perceive the underlying grounds for disagreement, and in this way appreciate each other all the more. What a rare and wonderful gift between any two people, let alone between mother and son.
I met Chen Yu when he joined the Hoofer Sailing Club in 2009. I was one of his teachers that first season. He was different than other beginning windsurfers. He combined mental acuity with unusual persistence. He was on the water every single evening, summer after summer, whether the wind was high or low, favorable or not. He was recognizable from shore by everybody as the guy who was out there no matter what.
Not that he was alone, mind you. Not at all. Every year or so he’d inspire another transient Madisonian or two, who then could be seen on the water regularly with him. Years later he wrote about sitting on his favorite bench, gazing out at the lake, reflecting on those friends: “I could still picture their faces, coming and going”. I see that some of them have traveled from afar to be with us today.
And of course he improved.
There's a challenging windsurfing move known as a "jibe." I realized we were no longer in the same league when, on a trip to the Caribbean two years ago, he progressed in one week from missing 99% of his jibes to nailing 99% of them. The student had become the teacher.
His windsurfing form was poetic, his body arched gracefully, with balletic balance; you could sense his zen-like focus. Windsurfers like to "plane," which is when you are skimming and seeming to fly atop the water. Chen Yu was a master. He was able to plane with less wind and smaller sails than any of us. Some put it down to his leanness and low body weight, which they said gave him an unfair advantage. But I know better. Our builds are pretty similar and yet there he was, magically planing when I was not.
He was one of our best, but he never looked down on anybody, always humble. I doubt he understood the word "ego." When I pointed out his superior form he argued that mine was similar to his. He only had praise for you. Once, months after I shared a tiny pedagogical tidbit with instructors, long after after it had disappeared into the dustbin of forgotten remarks, he floored me by saying how insightful and useful he had found it.
You need to know too how soft-spoken and respectful he was. Most of us whine about this or that bureaucratic policy or restraint on our freedoms. Not Chen Yu. He never complained. One of our friends remarked, surprising himself, "Golly, that's true, I don't remember him grumbling about anything." Instead he lived in harmony with the world.
He noted nature’s beauty and even turned it to good deeds. Here's an email I received from Chi Huynh, a young Hoofer windsurfer we both know:
"Been thinking about him these past few days and by now, he is probably windsurfing the sky. I remember when I was stuck in the lake because the wind was blowing from the south and I saw another figure windsurfing and called out for assistance. It was my first time talking to Yu and he helped me tack back to Hoofers. He saw how nervous and anxious I was and told me to look at the setting sun to divert my attention from my nerves. The sun was beautiful, I still remember the image and hues of pink and orange. I would have missed the beauty if he hadn’t told me."
So you have a guy who is focused, smart, athletic, talented, persistent, positive, soft-spoken, humble, kind. Yet what truly set Chen Yu apart was more than all of that.
He was utterly selfless.
He put your interests above his interests, every time.
When the wind is good, windsurfers flock to the lake to go enjoy themselves. Chen Yu too. But people chat, newer windsurfers have rigging questions, they seek advice. We're all glad to answer and help, but we do it efficiently so we can get ourselves out on the water as quickly as possible. Not Chen Yu. He spent so much time helping others that his own windsurfing was vastly curtailed. Sometimes he only finally got on the water when the good wind had died down. Knowing him though, he didn't regret what might have been. He exulted in whatever time he had.
In winter, he would arrange discounted ski lift tickets for large groups of people. He had to distribute them personally so he'd wait for stragglers to show up, no matter how late they arrived, which meant he was stuck in the lodge while nearly everybody else was on the slopes.
I'll tell you one final story. In February we spent an evening snowboarding together. He was, as you might expect, quite accomplished, whereas I’m a perpetual beginner. I told him he should go on and enjoy himself and not let me hold him back. But instead we stayed together the entire evening. We talked about many things -- snowboarding, life, the past, the future. On the downhill runs he made suggestions that -- you can guess by now -- helped me improve.
At one point he suspected that my feet were too close together; he suggested it might be worthwhile to remount my bindings so they were farther apart. He explained why, and it made sense, and I told him Ok, I'll do it at home before the next time I go snowboarding. He said, "Why don't we just do it now. I think we can find some tools inside." So we went in and did it together, me feeling even guiltier that I was depriving him of yet more of his snowboarding time. Indeed, the change made a wonderful difference.
What I eventually understood, looking back on that evening, is that he got his joy from being supportive and just sharing our time together. He honestly didn't mind being dragged to a pace so much slower than his natural one. I realized that my well-being sustained his well-being. I needn't have felt guilty. He found happiness in others.
I said it before. He put your interests above his own. He genuinely wanted you to succeed.
He was the best kind of human being you'd ever want to meet. What a loss for those who knew him, and for those who never will. Chen Yu, you deserve to be windsurfing the sky.
24 June 2017
~ By Hao Jiang ~
In loving memory of Yu Chen By Hao Jiang
June 1, 2017 is the day I will never forget for the rest of my life. When I was with wife and kids right in front of Cinderella castle waiting for the happily ever after fireworks show, our friend Xiaohu called and passed me the news. I was speechless and beyond belief. When you heard the saddest news at one of the happiest place on earth, you just feel everything is unreal. Moments, images and memories just flashed in my mind again and again.
We were having lunch together just a few days ago and we were talking about our plan in summer. How come you just left us without a chance for me to say goodbye. I have long understood life is unfair but this? This is so unimaginable that I have been questioning repeatedly, why, why such a kindest, nicest and talented person was taken away, at such a prime time of his life.
I still remember we were studying and working together in Ann Arbor and taking those night shifts at Notre Dame. I still remember those countless singing parties and fond memories of eating hot pot at your place. I still remember flying with you on ice rink and bathing with you in Lake Michigan. These days are just like yesterday.
You are the person I know if something happens to me, you will be right there for me. When we moved from Ann Arbor to Madison, there was not even a single bit of hesitation I asked you to be both of my children’s emergency contact and you were so serious of taking it. You are just such a person everybody can rely on. Your caring and passion are just so nonpareil and we all deeply, deeply miss you.
I know at that moment, this whole world changed because it just lost one of the kindest, most lovable and the greatest soul. May him rest in peace.
~ By Jun Chen ~
Everywhere Yu Chen went, a group of friends naturally formed around him. This was true in his hometown, Zhengzhou. This was true at Peking University, Beijing. This was also true in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This was true again here, in Madison. Ever since I got to know him in 1999 in Ann Arbor, I was impressed by his enthusiasm for others, dedication to his devotions, and his unique personality. Because of this, although having left Ann Arbor for many years, many friends were still keeping in touch with him, were deeply grieved by this tragedy and want to offer their condolences.
Dingzhou Li is one of Yu’s best friends from Michigan and currently living in east coast. Dingzhou gives special appreciation for Yu’s three-fold friendship and help as brother, colleague and best-friend. Sha Yang, Dingzhou's wife, is very much missing Yu for Yu's help and recalls the years’ of laugh together and tears together. Here, the couple of Dingzhou Li want to offer their deepest condolences.
Jimin Zhao is one of Yu’s best friends from Michigan and currently living in Beijing. Yu and Jimin came to Department of Physics, University of Michigan together in the same year. They had the same age and became good friends quickly. They were attending classes together, doing exercises together, playing games together, grocery shopping together, travelling together, and swimming together. After Jimin moved to Beijing, Yu visited Jimin in Beijing. They kept in touch closely and communicated frequently on WeChat: enjoying happy time and sharing emotions together. As Jimin appraises Yu: Yu’s heart was always devoted to advancing science, pursuing a happy and justified society, cherishing friendship, and deeply loving his Mother. Here, Jimin Zhao offers his deepest condolences.
Shouyuan Chen is another of Yu’s best friends as well as roommate at Michigan, and currently living in Lincoln, Nebraska. Shouyuan always recalls Yu's enthusiastic and selfless help. When Shouyuan firstly arrived in the United States, it was Yu and Gang Chen driving to the airport to pick him up, and then Yu helped him to handle a variety of paperwork and settle down smoothly in Ann Arbor. Shouyuan remembers that many friends frequency came to Yu’s place to party during weekends. Shouyuan especially misses Yu’s enthusiasm and their joys together. When Yu came to Lincoln last month, Yu and Shaoyuan met and chatted, but Shaoyuan would never have thought that meeting became a farewell. Here, Shouyuan Chen offers his deepest condolences.
Yu, my wife Li, and I came from the same Henan Province in China, and felt particularly close to each other. While living in the same Family Housing Community at Ann Arbor, we often went to Yu’s place to party, chat and eat together. Away from Ann Arbor, we kept in touch with each other. When I heard the tragedy in the morning of June 1 from Gang, I was shocked so that I didn’t believe it’s real. Only when attending the Candle Light Vigil seven days later, I began to realize it is real that he is sailing away forever.
May our special memories help Yu’s mother, relatives and friends cope with the grief. Yu’s legend will always be with us.
By Jun Cheng @ Chicago
~ By Mingming Leng ~
Good morning. For anyone who doesn't know me, my name is Mingming Leng. Today, together with Rong Chen, we are here, representing all of our classmates from Class 908 at Zhengzhou No.1 High School, to remember, honor, and celebrate our friend Yu Chen's beautiful and uncompromised life.
To all of us who shared the same classroom with him for three years, Yu was smart, diligent, and most importantly, true to himself as well as to his friends. Born in a military family, Yu had extraordinary will power, even deliberately built personality in self-made harsh environment. For instance, he didn't use pillow in his sleep, instead, he only used the pillow cover under his head. Maybe that explained why he was never late for the morning exercise. He always had short hair cut, wore soldier green jacket and police blue pants all year long, a tough image only to be betrayed by his sunny smile. He often practiced pull-up and swinging on high bar and parallel bars, making him known character at school, full of strength and energy.
In high school, Yu got top scores in every subject. He also encouraged his fellow students to dream big and never refused to offer a helping hand. One classmate wanted to borrow Yu's notes from a physics class right before the college entrance exam. To his surprise, Yu hand-copied the notes and graphs very neatly for her, which probably took him quite some time and effort. You could imagine how grateful the classmate has been.
When I recall my high school time, one moment that stood out was the last field trip in the high school. Yu was the busiest guy in planning and coordination, to make sure that everyone would have a precious piece of memory to accompany in life time. One friend remember that Yu walked through woods to locate a waterfall in a remote area, using a magnetized needle. It was his resolution and dedication that finally found the waterfall for all his friends.
Most of our high school classmates didn't have frequent contact with Yu, especially after he went to US for his Ph.D study. From the reports and links, we knew that his research work has been benefitting cancer patients and it is heartbreaking that he wouldn't be able to contribute any more. Yu also found happiness in sailing and made friends as a volunteer coach, which showed again the exact person we knew and loved so much and for so long.
Yu's life abruptly stopped at 43years. It was short but spectacular like a summer flower. We will treasure his integrity, devotion and never-quitting spirit. Class 908 will remember the youngest member, Yu Chen, forever.
~ By Weiguo Lu ~
Forever LaoBang By Weigo Lu
It was Wednesday, May 31, 2017. The day before that was Chinese “Dragon Boat” Day. Two days ago was American Memorial Day. The next day was International Children's Day.
Around 4 AM on June 1st, my wife woke me up and uttered: "LaoBang is gone!". I couldn’t react ...
Just a few minutes ago, two police officers of Coppell (TX) knocked on our door, asking for Yu Chen’s family contact. ...
Around noon，I trembled to post the news on our college class forum. The screen was soon full of WTF!
In the fall of 1990, together with 700 newly admitted science-major students of Peking University, Yu and I went to an Army Academy in central China for a whole year of mandatory military training. Yu Chen, nicknamed LaoBang, has been the comrade and classmate of mine ever since then. For 7 years straight, we studied in the same classroom, slept in the same unit of dorm, ate in the same cafeteria, exercised in the same basketball court, hang out along the same lakeshore, drank the same bottle of beer, smoke the same pack of cigarettes….
We were among the first group of people in China who used internet to peek the world outside of China. We were among the pioneers who promoted dormitory “market economy” during our last year of school life in China.
In 2003, I went to the AAPM conference in San Diego. While I was reading a poster in the conference, suddenly I heard a familiar voice from my back. It was surprisingly LaoBang. He told me that he had transferred to medical physics and became a peer of mine. We had fun in Sea World for a whole day. LaoBang picked a big Orca toy for my elder son. It was my son’s favorite for many years.
By 2006, my wife and I had been in TomoTherapy for many years, and tomo was thriving.
We met LaoBang in AAPM again. We tried to persuade LaoBang to come to Madison. "There is a beautiful 'Dreaming of Her' lake (Lake Mendota), there is the world renowned water park capital Wisconsin Dells, there are gentle and nice people ...." Then he came for the interview. Everything went well except for the H1B visa, which was quite a hassle. It was not until October 2007 that LaoBang moved to Madison and joined the "physics and innovation" group that included me and my wife. Though this group had only 5-6 members at all time, it was the brain for tomotherapy. We worked together for several years and completed quite a few products. The last few important innovations in tomo came out of this group. Especially the latest generation of products, TomoEdge, was predominantly developed by Yu.
The machine is now used by hundreds of hospitals around the world, treating tens of thousands of cancer patients daily and providing hopes for tens of thousands of families.
I left tomo and joined 21C in 2011. In the next two years, my wife and LaoBang also joined 21C. We continued as a group engaging in radiotherapy quality control software research and development. This product has been used in more than 100 radiotherapy clinics to ensure efficient and safe treatment.
In the fall of 2014, my wife and I went to UTSW and our family left our 17 years of hometown--Madison. LaoBang stayed in 21C. He just cannot leave his dear Lake Mendota.
LaoBang enjoyed and excelled in all kinds of outdoor sports, skiing, snowboarding, skating, sailing, windsurfing, ... In the summer of 2009, when my wife and kids were in China for summer vacation, LaoBang persuaded me to learn sailing and windsurfing. We galloped on Lake Mendota after work every day. Though, throughout the whole summer, I could not get any senior rating for windsurfing, we had great fun on the lake. After windsurfing, we bought a couple pitches of draft beer and drank at the lakefront together with sunset and breeze. Life is no better than that!
LaoBang and I have very different personalities and hobbies. However, after so many years of “Hugs-for-Warmth”, we had been closer than brothers.
On Sunday, May 28, 2017, LaoBang and I had a phone conversation. He told me that his mom recovered very well. We encouraged each other to take our last chance of the ABR test this August. We talked about to register the test as early as possible and to pick the same test center that is closest to my home. June 7th was the first day of registration, and there were still openings in the test center that is closest to my home.
Seven years of classmates, seven years of coworkers, twenty-seven years of brothers, a lifetime of remembrance.
Farewell, my comrade;
Farewell, my classmate;
Farewell, my colleague;
Farewell, my coworker;
Farewell, my friend;
Farewell, my brother.