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John Chang

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In Memory Of John Husen Chang
John Husen Chang, 76, long time resident of Torrance and Rancho Palos Verdes, passed away on September 16, 2014. He is survived by his children, Andrew, Derek, Leslie and Lauren; by his grandchildren, Cecilia and Josie Chang of Manhattan Beach, CA, Maxwell and Isabel Chang of Ithaca, NY, and Hannah Bahn of New York; and by his former wife, Katherine Shen. Born in Guiyang, China to Hung-chun Chang and Yu-chen Wu Chang, John spent most of his first years in Chongqing, the provisional capital of the Republic of China. In 1946, he moved with his family to Nanjing. In the spring of 1949, John's father moved the family to Queens, New York. In the United States, John attended Riverdale Country School as a boarder from the sixth grade through high school. He was a prize-winning history student and a standout athlete, competing in baseball, track and field, and soccer. He was captain of the soccer team and was named to the All-New York City team. John attended Princeton University for college, beginning an almost 60-year love affair with the school. He graduated in 1960 with a degree in mechanical engineering. John was a member of Cannon Club, and he continued his athletic exploits, lettering in track and field, captaining the team in his senior year and setting the school record in the 60-yard dash with a time of 6.3 seconds in 1958. He was awarded the Bonthron Trophy for his contributions to track and field through "sportsmanship, performance, and influence." Although self-effacing about his academic abilities, John must have excelled, for he was accepted to Harvard University for graduate school. Deciding that life in Cambridge wasn't for him - he was, after all, a dyed-in-the-wool Princetonian by now - he took a master's degree in applied physics and worked in industry for a year. The lure of Nassau Hall proved to be too much, however, and by the fall of 1962 John had returned to Princeton to pursue his doctorate in mechanical engineering under the direction of John Fenn. He completed his dissertation, entitled, "Species Separation by Stagnation of Gas Mixtures in Supersonic Flow," in 1967. The Princeton years also saw John start a family. He married Katherine (Kitty) Shen in 1964, and with Kitty raised four children. John's career ranged from the aerospace industry to consumer electronics to higher education and took him from New Jersey to Massachusetts, and ultimately to Southern California. He held various positions from research scientist to program manager, from chief administrative officer to professorial lecturer. Highlights included twenty-five years at TRW, a half dozen years as adjunct faculty at George Washington University, and perhaps the single professional achievement of which he was most proud, manager of the LITE (Lidar In-Space Technology Experiment) program, which traveled aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in September 1994. LITE has been hailed as "one of the most successful lidar experiments to retrieve global atmospheric aerosol and cloud properties." A lifelong fan of New York sports teams, John followed the Yankees, especially when Yogi Berra was with the team, the Giants, and the Knicks. Through his grandchildren, he rediscovered his love of soccer. John was also a devoted youth sports coach. He coached soccer teams for a decade and basketball teams for six years, influencing scores of children in Palos Verdes during the 1970s and 1980s. Although he would be the first to admit that his own musical talents were limited, he loved music, especially New Orleans Jazz and Brazilian Bossa Nova; but most of all, John reveled in and took great pleasure from talking, laughing and sharing meals with his family and close friends. These activities were the source of his greatest joy. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the John H. Chang Memorial Award Fund, Friends of Princeton Track. Go to: https://makeagift.princeton.edu/athletics/MakeAGift.aspx Select "Friends of Track and Field/CC" on the drop down menu and include the note, "John Chang Memorial Award Fund," in the Comment Box. Please sign the guest book at www.dailybreeze.com/obits.

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Published in Daily Breeze on Sept. 26, 2014
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