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Jenkai Kuo

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Jenkai Kuo Obituary
Dr. Jenkai Kuo

August 8, 1932 - July 26, 2014

Jenkai Kuo, beloved husband, father, grandfather, mentor and friend, passed away on Saturday, July 26, 2014, at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley, California. He was 81.

A funeral will be held on Sunday, August 24, at Chapel of the Chimes, 4499 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, California, 94611. Viewing will be from 2pm to 3pm, with a service beginning at 3pm.

Jenkai was born in Kaifeng, Henan province, China, on August 8, 1932, to the renowned Chinese historian Kuo Ting-yee and his wife Lee Hsin-yen. He spent his boyhood in Chongqing and Nanjing, graduated from Shih-ta Fu-chung High School in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1951, received his Bachelor of Science degree from National Taiwan University in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1955, earned a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio in 1958, and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1964.

On June 11, 1960, he married the former Mary Tan-lee Liu in Berkeley, California. He worked for IBM for over 20 years, first in Endicott, New York, where their four children were born, and then from 1978 to 1985 in Tucson, Arizona. He and Mary then embarked on a second career, working to bridge the gap between their adopted home, the United States, and their native China, where he lived until earlier this year. He was fortunate, as he often said, to have seen both of the countries he loved flourish, prosper, and grow strong and confident.

Jenkai was passionate about work, and was still putting in long hours on his inventions until his final hospitalization. But he dedicated himself above all else to his family: He was a conscientious father who imbued good values in his children and sacrificed endlessly to enable them in life, and he was always happiest when in the company of his wife, children, and grandchildren. Jenkai was effortlessly bicultural, possessing a deep understanding of, and ability to operate comfortably in, both the U.S. and China. He was unfailingly generous in spirit, and widely admired for his intelligence, his wisdom, his strong sense of justice and ethics, his diligence and attention to detail, and his conspicuous love of family. He was an unrepentant tinkerer-a lover of all things mechanical, with a profound appreciation for good design. He loved gadgets of all sorts, and was an avid technologist up until his passing.

He is survived by his wife Mary, by his sons John, Kaiser, and Jay, by his daughter Miranda, and by grandchildren Kaili, Camille, Hartley, Guenevere, and Johnny. We will all miss him dearly, and his love will live on in us eternally.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Aug. 8, 2014
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