Obituary: Wen Shao Wu, 87, of Ridgefield

Wen Shao Wu
Wen Shao Wu

In Memory of Wen Shao Wu

Wen Shao Wu, 87, of Ridgefield, CT, peacefully passed away on September 26, 2018 after battling liver cancer for the past 9 months. In his final days, he was surrounded by his extended family and friends who all loved him very much.

Wen lived a full life, overcoming a childhood of war in China before emigrating to the United States on an academic scholarship which enabled him to become a pioneering technologist and business executive in the formative years of computers, semiconductors and office automation in the 1950s through the 1980s.

Wen was born on April 7, 1931 in Shanghai China to a scholarly Chinese family. His father, mother and grandfather were all educated in the United States in the first third of the 20th century before each returned to China to modernize the country in industries that included sugar refining, education and banking. Although Wen came from a prominent family, the traditional practice that spanned multiple generations, was to send their kids to America penniless but on self-earned scholarships in order to teach them the virtues of self-sufficiency, hard work, innovation, humility, respect and fair play.  

As a child, Wen witnessed continuous war. When the Japanese invaded China in 1937 his family continually fled across China from Hong Kong to Sichuan, staying ahead of the advancing Japanese army. As a boy, he watched Japanese airplanes attack the civilian population. When he was 8, Wen himself survived a strafing attack in 1939 by Japanese aircraft. As a result, he vowed to study engineering to “build airplanes so that foreign invaders could no longer do this to China.”

Wen was a serious scholar and gained admission to the prestigious Jiao Tong University in Shanghai. The year was 1948, the autumn before the communist takeover of Shanghai in the spring of 1949. As a measure of his studious dedication he ignored two letters from his father to escape to Taiwan as the communist army approached. Wen’s father eventually hired soldiers to forcibly remove Wen from school. Wen caught one of the last boats to Taiwan in 1949. Shanghai fell to the communists soon thereafter.

Wen continued his undergraduate studies at the University of Taiwan. There he met other scholarly refugees from mainland China, all of whom became a tight knit group of lifelong friends. One of those persons was Ann Dz-An Hung, his future wife, his best friend and his lifelong love. Together, they began their journey that spanned 65 years until Ann’s death in 2014, and then he lived with his daughter, Nancy, for 4 years. They both emigrated to America in the early 1950s, were married in 1956 and brought up three kids. In addition, they brought both sets of parents from Taiwan, all of whom lived with them and all of whom eventually became proud American citizens.

Wen came to America in 1951 on a scholarship to Bucknell University, where he earned his Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering. He then went on to earn his Master’s Degree and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering both from MIT. He never built war planes for China, but he did spend his career developing leading edge computer and information-based technologies at IBM, Texas Instruments, RCA, Xerox, Georgetown Steel and General Electric.  Wen loved America which embodied opportunity, ingenuity, fairness and a strong work ethic.

Wen had a brilliant mind and was inquisitive about the world. He was also very personable, thoughtful and kind. He always maintained a wide range of friends that came from so many backgrounds and so many walks of life. But most of all, he thought of his family. Upon reflecting on his greatest moments and accomplishments, Wen stated that his proudest memories all surrounded his family, especially his wife, his brother, his parents, his 3 kids and his 8 grandchildren.

Wen is survived by his daughter, his two sons and their families: Nancy Wu Brandon and husband, Gene Brandon, with their children Michael, Stephen and Caitlyn of Ridgefield, CT; Vincent Wu and wife, Andrea Gardner, with their children Carrie, Lisa and David of South Glastonbury, CT; David Wu and wife, Debbie Wu with their children Brandon and Andrew of Concord, MA. In addition, he is survived by his brother, Wen Hsien Wu and his family of Berkeley, CA.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, October 20, 2018 at 11:00 a.m., at Regional Hospice and Palliative Care, 30 Milestone Road, Danbury, CT 06810. Interment of his ashes will be private among the immediate family. Arrangements were made by the Redgate-Hennessy Funeral Directors, 4 Gorham Place, Trumbull, CT.

In lieu of flowers, donations in the memory of Wen Shao Wu may be made to Regional Hospice and Palliative Care, (