Chuan F. "Tony" Chen (1932 - 2019)

  • "Dr. Chen was a graceful and kind man. I enjoyed my..."
    - Ray Umashankar
Service Information
East Lawn Palms Mortuary
5801 East Grant Road
Tucson, AZ

CHEN, Chuan F. "Tony"

Professor Emeritus of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Arizona, died peacefully in his sleep on August 17, 2019, in Tucson, at the age of 86. Dr. Chen was born in Tianjin, China, and came to America in 1950 to study mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois. He graduated in 1953 as class salutatorian with University Honors and was inducted into the scholastic honorary societies Pi Tau Sigma, Sigma Xi, and Tau Beta Pi. After completing his M.S. degree at the University of Illinois in 1954, he continued his graduate studies in aeronautical engineering at Brown University and earned his Ph.D. in 1960.

Tony worked at Hydronautics, Inc. in Laurel, Maryland before embarking on a 50-year academic career. He spent 17 years at Rutgers University, where he was Chairman of the Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering from 1976-80. In the summers of 1968 and 1969, he was a Fellow at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.

In 1980, Tony and his family moved to Tucson, Arizona, where he was Head of the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Arizona from 1980-89, and where he became Professor Emeritus in 2002. Tony was an internationally recognized scientist in fluid dynamics; he published over a hundred scientific articles and papers, gave numerous seminars and lectures at universities and institutions across North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, and chaired multiple national and international conferences. He was a Fellow of the American Physical Society, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; a member of American Society of Engineering Education; and a Visiting Fellow and Life Member of Clare Hall, University of Cambridge. He was awarded the MechSE Distinguished Alumni Award by the University of Illinois in 1982.

During his career, Tony participated in the NSF-funded Geological Expedition to Skaergaard Intrusion, Greenland; was a senior visiting fellow at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge, England; a visiting fellow at the Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia; a visiting scientist at the Institut für Angewandete Thermo- und Fluiddynamik, Karlsruhe, Germany; and Director, Fluid Dynamics and Hydraulics Program at the National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C.

Tony met his wife, Frances Yakiang Liu, then a fellow student at the University of Illinois, in 1954. They were married in 1957. He treasured time spent with his family, enjoying holidays and special occasions, and traveling the US and abroad. During their 62-year marriage, Tony and Frances visited many countries, enjoying the art, culture, and history everywhere they went. Tony relaxed by building model ships and planes with his sons when they were young; in later years, he loved hiking and swimming. Listening to classical music was a favorite pastime, and he could find the humor in any situation. Tony is survived by his wife, Frances; three sons, Peter (Ann Wagenhals), Paul (Yihua Shi) and Philip (Grace Cinciripini); seven grandchildren, Andrew, Grace, Eleanor, Matthew, Olivia, Weston and Stella; and two sisters, Jane and Joan; all of whom miss him dearly. He is preceded in death by his parents, brother, Chuan­ Zheng and sister, Lan Ying. A private family memorial will be held to celebrate Tony's life. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be considered to the at in memory of Dr. Chuan F. "Tony" Chen. Arrangements by EAST LAWN PALMS MORTUARY.

Published in the Arizona Daily Star on Sept. 1, 2019
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