Wai-ching Chung

Wai-ching Chung
World Trade Center

Abiding Gentleness, and Wit

Wai C. Chung was quiet and painfully shy — if a stranger said good morning, he'd be flummoxed — but neither quality muffled his abiding gentleness. "You couldn't not like him," recalled Jon Worth, his boss at UBS PaineWebber in Weehawken, N.J., where Mr. Chung, 36, was a vice president. His co-workers have not had the heart to touch his desk, or take down the cards that poured in.

Those with whom he felt comfortable were privy to his cerebral wit. Mr. Chung, who immigrated here from Hong Kong as a child, read history and science texts incessantly and had near-photographic recall.

He was a fixture at the office. Mr. Chung never took vacations longer than an extended weekend, fearing a database problem would erupt. But Mr. Chung, who lived in Brooklyn with his parents and younger brother, Richard, also enjoyed both his solitude and spending time with his nieces and nephews.

When one niece, Maurita Tam, was a toddler, he mesmerized her by blowing Kleenexes in the air and watching them artfully descend.

Ms. Tam worked at the World Trade Center and died on Sept. 11. Her uncle was hit by debris while waiting for a commuter bus the same day.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on September 10, 2002.

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