He received his PhD from Virginia Polytechnic Institute after completing his Master’s degree at the University of Cincinnati.
He excelled at creating complex maps, designing his house, and planning projects. He was just as comfortable with a blueprint as a geological map. He traveled throughout the state conducting geological surveys and used the data to produce detailed and multi-layered West Virginia geological maps. After a lifetime producing works of precision, he opened the Red Rose Chinese Restaurant with his wife and retired to enjoy carefree days where time on an ocean liner was not measured.
He mentored countless WVU students, co-founded the WVU Chinese Student Association and the Association of Chinese Professionals in West Virginia, and organized the Sister City partnership for Morgantown and a city in Taiwan.
Ping-fan loved holidays. He sought out international students, inviting them to his home to spend holidays with his family, where the sound of music and laughter, and tickling of ivory keys mingled with the ping and pong of balls bouncing on the ping-pong table, soon chased away holiday blues.
He enjoyed nature, gardening, visiting parks, and playing hacky sack in his youth. A prolific writer, he authored scientific articles, books, and poetry.
He dabbled in the arts as a musician and draftsman. He took pride in his extensive collection of classical and modern music, laboriously compiling playlists by hand. Long before “thinking outside of the box” became a household phrase, he did it. Whipping out his white shirts and a brush, he created brush drawings on the fabric for Halloween, much to the delight and wonder of his children.
Ping-fan instilled his work ethic and love of music and writing in his children. He lived a life well-lived through hardships and pain. Inspired by the beauty of the world, his words touch our hearts.
He is survived by his second wife, Esther Fu-Mei; daughters, Jane, June, and Julia; and grandchildren, Michael, Matthew, and April.
In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his first wife, Tsing-fang Chen; his brother, sister, and nephew.
In lieu of flowers, Esther Chen requests that donations in memory of Ping-fan Chen may be made to the mission fund of Christ Life Ministry, 2607 Stephens Grant Dr. Sugar Land, Texas 77479 or to the charity of your choice.
The family will receive friends at Hastings Funeral Home, from 1-2 p.m., on Friday, May 25, followed by the funeral service.