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William Q. Wu, who practiced as a neurosurgeon in the Kansas City area from 1950 to his retirement in 1991, has died of pneumonia at 102, June 18, 2013. Upon his arrival in Kansas City in 1950, with his wife, Cecile F. "Frankie" Wu, he broke the color line in Kansas City's segregated medical profession when he was accepted into the Jackson County Medical Society and allowed to practice in area hospitals. The son of an Imperial Scholar, Wu immigrated to the U.S. from China at the age of 11. He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Michigan. While there, he met Cecile, a fellow student who had grown up in Ann Arbor. During WWII, though Asian immigrants were forbidden by law from becoming naturalized American citizens, Wu volunteered for the Army in 1943, when doctors from Allied nations were allowed to join. He served in Burma and China and was awarded the Bronze Star for treating wounded under fire. When the war ended, he happened to be on leave, visiting Cecile in Washington, D.C. They were married Aug. 19, 1945. After starting his private practice in Kansas City, their first son, William Franking Wu, was born in 1951. In 1954, the family moved to a house in Prairie Village where they lived until 2007. Their second son, Christopher Nelson Wu, was born in 1957. In the 1960s, Wu received neurosurgical referrals from the Kansas City Chiefs. The players he treated included guard Ed Budde, future film star Fred Williamson, and linebacker Willie Lanier. Also during the 1960s, Wu began sponsoring several nieces and nephews, who were in Hong Kong and Guangzhou, to come to the U.S. and go to college. After travel to China opened up in the 1970's, Bill and Cecile participated in many goodwill exchanges, in which Americans visited China and Chinese visitors came to the U.S. He expressed his belief at the time that medicine transcended issues of culture and politics. Over the years, they visited many Chinese cities, visited his relatives in the village where he was born, and journeyed to Tibet. In 1996, Wu published his memoir, Monsoon Season. Cecile died in 2009 in Prairie Village after which Wu moved to Lafayette, Calif. He is survived by William F. Wu, a science fiction writer and newspaper editor; Christopher N. Wu, a lawyer, and his wife Jenny and son Michael, an attorney and lieutenant in the Army Reserve. Donations in Dr. Wu's honor may be made to the William Q. Wu Merit Scholarship Fund c/o UMKC Foundation, 202 Administrative Center, 5100 Rockhill Rd., Kansas City, MO 64110. The scholarship was created in 1990 to promote U.S.-China student exchanges and intercultural relations. Services will be at 2 p.m. on the deceased's birthday, Nov. 11, 2013, at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 6401 Wornall Terr., Kansas City, MO 64113.

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Published in Kansas City Star on Jun. 30, 2013.
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14 entries
February 21, 2014
I worked with Dr. Wu back in the 80's @ St. Mary's Hospital, Dr. Wu was a joy to know and to work with. Will truly be missed.
Anita "Sills" Newson
February 16, 2014
Program back
Chris Wu
February 16, 2014
Program p.3
Chris Wu
February 16, 2014
Program p.2
Chris Wu
February 16, 2014
Program from 11-11-2013 Memorial Service cover
Chris Wu
December 11, 2013
I remember him as a sweet and gentle man. He was a teacher to me at Truman in 1989- 1990 when I was doing a surgical internship. I remember he gave me a Chinese coin purse for Christmas. I also remember him saying in surgery, "You be the hands and I be the brain." What a tremendous life lived.
Becca (Brown) Wiley
Becca Brown
November 5, 2013
Dr Wu was a pleasure to work with and always was willing to help explain something I did not understand. He and Frankie were so kind and very thoughtful people. He was a great physician and person.
Sarah Reed
July 13, 2013
The Wu family has been a part of our lives for nearly 50 years. He was my mother's neurosurgeon and he and Frankie became our family,graciously inviting us into their home or farm for so many holidays. My memories remain riding Milton's pony and catching catfish in the "haunted" lake; Finding their Siamese cat asleep on the television while watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang next to their Christmas tree; Playing records and pool with Chris and Billy and watching with great expectation as the Surgeon prepared to carve the holiday turkey! I'm not sure what my 7-year-old self expected, but the honor of having a turkey carved by a surgeon was extraordinary! We miss you both but rejoice that you are together again! It was our privilege to have known you!
Darcy Chang-Boykin
July 4, 2013
I am grateful for the life of Dr. Wu. Thanks to his service and to the service of others in our armed forces, my family and I have been able to lead our lives in freedom and peace.
July 2, 2013
Dr and Mrs Wu were wonderful people. I purchased land from them in 1996 in Kingsville, MO. We kept in contact periodically and I happened to run in to them at a hospital in Kansas. My mother was ill and Frankie Wu was leaving a physical therapy appointment. We had a wonderful visit that day. My deepest sympathy for the loss of your father, may he rest in peace.
Lori Ward
June 30, 2013
I got shot in the neck in 1986 with a spinal cord injury. Dr. Wu was the head of the team of Doc's that did all th planning for my care. He got sick & was hospitalized himself a little while later. Me and my family were so impressed with him, unfortunately we never saw him again. We often talked about him never dreaming he would make it to 2013!

Sounds like he had a great journey and helped lots of people in this world, may he be just as awesome in the next!
Scott Stark
June 30, 2013
Dr. Wu removed a brain tumor from one of my aunts in 1957. She is still living at age 88. I never had the privilege of meeting Dr. Wu but what a wonderful man.
Ray Groves
June 30, 2013
Dr. Wu saved my daughter's life almost 30 years ago. He was such a caring and compassionate doctor. I saw him many times after her surgery at the hospital where I also worked. He always remembered my daughter's name and always asked how she was doing. She also has an autographed copy of his book. We loved him!
Myrna Ward
June 30, 2013
Wonderful blessings going for Dr. Wu. He was one of the very top surgeons in Kansas City, MO and saved my mother-in-law's life after performing complicated brain surgery. Dr. Wu is a man who had a life well-lived.
Dottie Showalter
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