(Ho) Hu, 86, trailblazing chemist and loving mother and grandmother, passed
away on June 16, 2020. With her beloved husband John Chih-An Hu, she had seven
children who will forever miss her care, kindness, and wisdom: Arthur (Jenny),
Ben (Janet Tipping) Carl (Catherine Smith), Dave (Sharlene Wang), Eileen (Tony
Chun), Franklin, and George (Carrie).
Her love of
God and family ran deep. She valued faith and education and fostered her
family’s commitment to both. Nothing made her happier or prouder than the
academic achievements of her children. All of them played multiple instruments,
were part of Seattle Youth Symphony, and were excellent students who graduated
from either Stanford or MIT. She was a lifelong traveler who loved being close
to nature. She and John loaded up their family of 9, packing with army
precision, into what would become the trademark green VW van for camping trips
all over the west. In later years, she took an epic RV trip across the country
with Franklin and many glorious cruises with family.
an extraordinary life. She and her twin sister were born to Lung-Ching Ho and
Shih-Lan Hsiu on February 3, 1934 in Fuling, Chongqing, China. Her sister died
as an infant and her mother when Betty was 7, but her father married Shih-Lan
Hsiu’s sister Shih-Wei and the family was blessed with two boys (Johnny and
Danny) and two more girls (Anna and Julie). Her father, a general in Chiang
Kai-Shek’s army, was transferred several times during Betty’s childhood. She
grew up in Szechuan, Nanking, and Shanghai.
Betty was 15
when the communists gained control of mainland China, compelling her father to
send most of the family to Taiwan. They were able to catch the last flight from
mainland China to Taiwan although Betty almost missed the flight since she had
gone to a movie with her friends!
family was eventually reunited in Taipei, where she excelled in school and
earned a 4-year scholarship to Catholic Immaculate Heart College in Los
Angeles. Her parents, whom she remembered for their love and generosity,
treated all their children equally during a time and in a culture that often did
not afford daughters the same opportunity for education.
for scientists motivated her to study chemistry during her college career in
Los Angeles. She was also motivated to improve her English; to accomplish this
goal, she took a job as an usher at a Hollywood theater.
She met her
future husband John at a college dance for Chinese students. He was attracted
to Betty’s beautiful singing voice, and she impressed him even further by correctly
answering his question about the chemical formula for alcohol. She was
attracted to his good looks and admired his education as a scientist. They
married in 1956 during her sophomore year of college and honeymooned on
pregnant while still in college and, making a choice that was not common in
those days – she stayed in school. Arthur was born during summer vacation, and
a year to the day later, Ben arrived. By the time she graduated, she had a
3-year old, a 2-year-old, and was pregnant with Carl, their third son.
managing their growing family, Betty went to work as a medical chemist after
graduation. After David was born, she took a job at a chemical company and
continued working with what they thought would be their 5th child.
They were surprised and delighted when she delivered twins, their 5th
and 6th children, Eileen and Franklin.
the awesome responsibility of caring for their very young children and managing
the household, her love of family deepened daily. As a faithful woman, she saw
her children as God’s best blessing, and she adored motherhood – something else
at which she excelled. John confessed his pride in choosing a wonderful wife
and mother to his children.
drawn to Seattle in 1966 by its clean air, low crime, and good schools. He
drove to Seattle in the Volkswagen Beetle, and the rest of the family followed
by train. Betty would sometimes marvel, “I didn’t lose a single child!” The
family settled in Renton, and John worked at Boeing’s Renton plant.
back to work when George, their 7th child started school. She found
another job she loved and excelled at, this time teaching remedial math to
students for decades in the Kent School district. She even wrote an unpublished
book on finger math (Chisanbop). Her students adored her, and she was honored
by the school district for her dedication and skill.
The last few
months had been a struggle for Betty because of complications of Parkinsonism,
which she fought with bravery and determination. Yet, she had expressed to her
son Ben that she was happy with the way her life had turned out and was at
peace with what was to become inevitable. She was looking forward to walking
with God, her spirit freed from the confines of a failing body.
preceded in death by John in 2001 and her brothers Johnny and Danny. Following
John’s passing, Betty lived in Redmond near most of her family and more
importantly most of her grandchildren whom she cherished. She later moved to
Madison Retirement House in Kirkland where she made many friends, enjoyed
sharing slideshows of her many adventures traveling, organized bible study
groups and sing alongs. She enjoyed life at its fullest and as recently as late
January enjoyed a cruise to the Mexican Riviera with several of her children
where she was part of the winning Beatles Trivia and Escape Room teams.
survived by her seven children and 20 grandchildren: Eric, Peter (Samantha),
Henry, John, Price, Ciara, Cindy, Abby, Ellen, Anne, Alex, Brevan, Coby,
Michael, Steven, Kevin, Brandon, Sophia, Andrew and Beth.
dearly missed but will forever be in our hearts. She exemplified living life
fully and lovingly. Her family will celebrate her life at Chapel of the
Resurrection June 26, 2020 followed by committal at Kirkland Cemetery.
May She Rest