James Chu
1946 - 2020
James Chu

December 21, 1946 - March 9, 2020

James (Jim) Chu passed away peacefully on March 9th, 2020 after a lengthy decline in health, surrounded by family and his pastor, Shannon Pappas.

Born in Hong Kong on December 21, 1946, Jim was 9 years old when he immigrated with his parents George Yick-chiu Chu, Marjorie Koon, and sisters to the United States. They settled in San Francisco where he attended George Washington High School. He was a proud graduate of UC Berkeley, graduating with a BA in finance, and was a lifelong Cal Bears fan.

Jim was a respected leader in the insurance industry for over 50 years. As an executive at Fireman's Fund, Zurich American and other companies, he mentored many junior employees and was gratified to see them excel in their careers. Herb Van Der Veer, a colleague and friend, recalled: "If there was only one quality to point at that explained Jim's business success, I knew what it was: He was the best networker I've ever met. Everybody was welcome and treated with respect. His relationships grew and grew. For large account insurance business, he was 'The Man' in SF."

Jim had a fondness for the outdoors. During his boyhood, he formed a hiking club called The Fallen Arches. His later interests included fishing and golf. He had great memories of fishing with his pal Leland (Butch) Ling and his brother-in-law Allan Low. As a devoted Giants fan, he attended Spring Training with his daughter, Marcia. He was a 49er faithful and lifelong fan of the Warriors.

Throughout his life, Jim was service minded. In elementary school, he was a Traffic Boy. After moving to San Mateo, he joined the First Presbyterian Church. He took an active part in church affairs, studied the scriptures and was ordained and installed as a Deacon.

His family is grateful for the supportive health care provided by Dr. Jennifer Lin and Sharon Windust at Kaiser Redwood City and by staff at Wellbound and Satellite Dialysis Centers in San Mateo, and for the loving and compassionate care he received last year at Apple Tree Care Home. Jim is preceded in death by his parents, sister Irene Low (Allan) and daughter Marcia Chu. He leaves behind his daughter Marlena Chu (Ray Lum), beloved granddaughter Mari Lum, sister Ellen Yee (Robert), sister Margaret Lucaccini (Luigi), and former spouse Rita Chu. He will be missed by his many nephews, nieces and their children (to whom he was known as "Uncle Jamsie"), as well as by dear friends and colleagues, including Karen Aizawa, Michael Palmer, family of Brian Choy, and the Lam-Chann family. His family is grateful for the condolences and memories shared by those who knew him.

A memorial at First Presbyterian Church in San Mateo will be planned in 2021. An announcement will be made via the obituaries, or by contact with First Presbyterian Church in San Mateo (650-345-1633, fpcsm.org). Jim's favorite charity was the Second Harvest Food Bank (www.shfb.org). Donations can be made to this organization in his memory.

Published by San Francisco Chronicle from May 8 to May 10, 2020.
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5 Entries
Jim hired me at Johnson & Higgins, mentored me and was always great to do business with when he went back to the company side. He loved his Bears and enjoyed golfing with him a few times. A class act and true gentleman who will be missed and never forgotten.
Greg Wessel
December 8, 2020
James was my boss for many years at fireman’s fund insurance company and found him to be very generous and kind . I have thought about him many times and will miss him. Wishing him eternal peace and rest.
Natalie Rasumoff
August 26, 2020
Jeannie Ballman
May 21, 2020
worked with Nom as my boss and as my client. As Jews would say he was a Mensch. A human being. I can think of no greater wish.
Cliff Geyer
May 18, 2020
I along side of Jim as a Deacon at FPCSM and so enjoyed his enthusiasm and gifts. He is missed. Shalom
Sharon Tastor
May 13, 2020
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