In memory of
Thomas Chou
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In memory of
Thomas Chou
Thomas Chou Thomas Teh Loh Chou, beloved husband and father, passed away on September 21, 2016, in Corte Madera, California, surrounded by his family. His passing leaves us with a tremendous sense of loss, but we are grateful that he embraced and lived his 95 years fully and with joy. Tom was born in the village of Jiangshan, Zhejiang Province, China, to a rural merchant and winemaking family. He was an exceptional student and hard worker. Tom's teenage years were interrupted by the Japanese invasion of China in 1937. At the age of 16, he dropped out of school and enlisted in the Chinese Army to defend his country. He served on active duty for the duration of World War II as an army radio corpsman. During this time he also completed his education, graduating in 1947 with a BS degree in electrical engineering from Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. At the end of the war, Tom relocated to Taiwan with the Nationalist Army where he met his future wife, Lucia. They celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary this past February. As a member of the Chinese Signal Corps, Tom was invited to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, where he trained with the United States Army. After Fort Monmouth, Tom was accepted into the graduate program at University of Washington, receiving his master's degree in 1956. Upon his return to Taiwan, Tom, having attained the rank of full colonel, served as a commander of a military base. Following his retirement from the army, Tom joined the faculty at the Electronics Institute at National Chiao Tung University in Taipei. In 1961, he became the first professor hired from outside the U.S. at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo, California, from which he retired as professor emeritus in 1986. While at Cal Poly, Tom mentored and counseled hundreds of students, many of whom became lifelong friends. Tom was generous not only with his time. A firm believer in education, he established a scholarship at Cal Poly in honor of his parents, contributed to educational causes, and also helped build several elementary and middle schools in his home province in China. He had a strong sense of culture and community, supporting local projects including the Iron Road Pioneer statue in San Luis Obispo honoring Chinese railroad workers and other Chinese immigrants, and the rebuilding of the Cayucos pier. Ever the consummate academic and visionary, Tom developed a VHF and Up electronic jamming machine in his early career, and authored many technical reports and articles. He was an early contributor to what was to become Silicon Valley. He co-authored the book High Frequency Amplifier Design which became a graduate textbook. He was a consultant to various companies and agencies including Lockheed, Rockwell, NASA, Lawrence Livermore National Lab, DOE, DOD, and the Naval Research Center. While at Cal Poly, Tom was a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley and a research fellow at Stanford University. Tom had many interests. He loved art, literature and music, especially Chinese opera, history and poetry. He was also fascinated with the stock and real estate markets and spent many happy hours analyzing the trends of each. He loved traveling with Lucia and his family at his side. He visited each of the 50 states, as well as six continents. Always a philosopher, he believed in providing opportunities to others but not taking credit for their accomplishments. Relationships were more important than profits. He found joy and contentment in contributing to the happiness and wellbeing of others. After retirement Tom enjoyed spending time at his beach house in Cayucos, California, where he was surrounded by his family and many friends. Tom is survived by his loving wife of 65 years, Lucia; his children, Paula (Bud), Joanne, Jim (Jennifer); his grandchildren, Jeremy (Michelle), Kelsey, Jackson, Elia, Tessa; and scores of nieces and nephews. Tom was beloved by so many because he lived his life with integrity, humility, kindness, and gentleness. His legacy will always live in our hearts. Contributions in his honor may be made to the Langchen and Wulian Chou Memorial Scholarship Endowment at Cal Poly. Sign his guestbook at sanluisobispo.com/obituaries
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