Eulogies 4 Friends 2 (in progress)
To write about David, I need to start with Nancy, the love of his life. I met Nancy in the fall of 1979, when we were freshmen at Johns Hopkins. Early in the semester I looked around my calculus classroom and saw a girl in a jacket with a curling patch on the sleeve (what was curling?) juggling a pile of books and a list of things to do. As a list-maker myself, I realized this would be a friend -- although 35 years ago I had no idea how long that friendship would last.
Nancy was a biomedical engineering major, and as we progressed in our studies she began to mention some of the graduate students she had met in the BME labs, particularly David and his buddies Joe and Dan. It wasn’t long before I met them also, and they formed the core of a wonderful extended group of friends. We shared outings to hear music, a memorable rain-soaked canoe trip, and a series of potluck dinners where each participant tried to out-cook the others. (And woe to he or she who didn’t honor the tradition of leaving all leftovers to the host! I took the last piece of my dessert home once, foiling David’s plan for a late-night snack, and had to apologize many times.) Meeting David and his friends was probably also responsible for my decision to follow them in the Hopkins MD-PhD program, which led me to a rewarding career.
Somewhere between the expeditions and evenings of conversation the rest of our Hopkins gang began to notice that David and Nancy were becoming a couple. This impression turned to certainly when David persuaded Joe that the obvious thing to do over a spring break was drive to Canada. I was visiting Nancy there at the time, having taken the easier route of flying, but it was pretty clear who had her attention! It seems now like only a short time later that I was meeting David’s family at a pre-wedding dinner in Mount Vernon, while Nancy’s mom disappeared into the restaurant kitchen to tell the cooks what dishes to prepare (and probably how to make them!). I remember David smiling as his father traded jokes with mine, and explained to my mother that he had toasted their future sons, rather than children, because of course that’s what Yues would be. And then I was standing next to Nancy as she beamed at David at the start of their wedding ceremony...
I moved away from Baltimore in 1992, so the next few decades seem a bit compressed, but we did manage visits when I came back to the area see my parents. David and Nancy’s family grew and his research flourished; it was always great to hang out in their kitchen and hear about the latest experiments, adventures, workouts, or family news. David and Nancy also stayed in close touch with my parents, including them in family events and often bringing the boys over to play or swim. I also knew I could always count on them to go by and help if my parents needed a hand; their generosity on such occasions was really wonderful. These visits always included music, with David enjoying my father’s baby grand piano and filling the room with sound, lost in the moment. Eventually that piano moved to the Yue’s living room, to my parents’ delight.
When I think of David, I see him with that characteristic intense and engaged look on his face, very slightly scrunching up his eyes and raising the corners of his mouth as he simultaneously tilts his head to the side and leans forward. The expression perhaps evoked by a scientific idea, a new flavor, or a beautiful piece of music - but always so David! In the moment, experiencing life deeply, enjoying the company of his friends, his colleagues, and most of all his family.
friend from Johns Hopkins University
St Louis, MO
I met David and Nancy back, way back, in the early days. We were just married, and David and Nancy married seven months later. David had just begun his career at Johns Hopkins. We soon became fast friends through House Church and raising our kids together. We sought after God, together. David was committed to the vision of Acts 2:42, where the early followers of Jesus devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to fellowship, to breaking bread together and to prayer. Over the years, our conversations covered quite a range.
Do you want to see David smile? Just ask him what’s up in the lab. He will get that glimmer in his eye. If you know David, you’ve seen it. Once, we spent hours at the dining room table as he diagrammed calcium ion channels for me on a napkin. He suffered through my questions and lack of understanding. In the end, what I learned was that science is hard work, and Dave was good at it.
For a guy who ran a world-class lab at a world-class institution, I was struck by David’s humility, caring and practicality. I had the opportunity to come up to his lab once to look at a problem he was having with one of his computers. They were hardly state of the art, but they were effective for what he was doing and he was happy to conserve his grant funds to further the science at hand and to continue to pay the staff entrusted to him. He never took the funding or the success for granted. He would put in many late nights on that next grant request to keep the lab funded. When he resurfaced, we’d ask how it was. He’d say it was good, but there were no guarantees of future funding.
As far as I’m concerned, David set the high bar for parenting. He somehow managed to juggle a demanding career with more than just being present. He enjoyed, led, taught and inspired. We would frequently find ourselves at the Yue’s house, enjoying David and Nancy’s hospitality. While our kids played together in another room, we’d debate the finer points of some theological or scientific question, or maybe just enjoy an impromptu concert at the piano.
David also cared deeply about the community of people that God had put around him. He was always willing to pitch in to solve a problem, even if it meant hosting someone at his house. Sunday mornings would find him in a classroom at Grace Fellowship Church. He’d be leading the “Search for Answers” class on their quest to help people bridge the span between science and sacred.
Some of my fondest memories of our times together are the discussions about the nature of heaven. What is the nature of the soul? What does it mean to be reunited with our loved ones who’ve gone before us? And, well, will there be pets in heaven?
David has unexpectedly shed his earthly body and we are sad for that. It is not what any of us would wish for David, or Nancy, Michael, Daniel and Jonathan.
I look forward to seeing David again, in the presence of Jesus, and to continuing our discussions where we left off. There, not hampered by time or distance, perhaps we’ll be able to find a little table and maybe a napkin to draw on.
Tim Chase, friend
Colorado Springs, CO
Dave brought kindness, warmth, smiles and laughter to everyone he touched. Dave showed me the simple joy of a true friendship. I will think of Dave often, and always see a smile on his face, which will warm my heart.
Dave will always be loved, with every thought.
Eugene Yeh, college friend from Johns Hopkins
Cary, North Carolina
Many memories of David come to mind from the 20 plus years that I knew him. My first meeting with David was an interview to be his nanny for Michael and Daniel. We had a good chat and then he told me that I had to go on a driving test. I initially thought how odd, but he later told me that his former nanny was a terrible driver. We had a good laugh and he told me I was a fine driver. That was the start of a great family friendship! He was always smiling and happy to go to work each morning. We often had morning chats before he headed off to work. I was very blessed to have him play beautiful wedding music at my wedding in 2008. Many people did not know how talented he was and he wowed our wedding guests with his wonderful piano playing.
Rachel Woodland Pfister,
Former Yue Nanny,
Professional Development Teacher, Baltimore County Public Schools
No words can express our sorrow. We knew David since 1979 when Kang joined UCLA. Your enthusiastic and kind parents invited us to your home to welcome us - the new comers. We got to know all of you, John, Mary and David, through many parties that your parents hosted in your home. I remember that David just graduated from Harvard when we met him the first time. Your father proudly introduced to us that David was going to attend Johns Hopkins to become a doctor. From then on, we heard all the wonderful achievements of David including learning Chinese etc.. David made so much contributions in the medical, scientific and educational fields. We were just as proud as your father.
Best regards, Kang and Edith
How could this happen to David? He and I just exchanged emails earlier this month (see below). In my reply to him, I asked if he would be interested in visiting NCTU to help looking into Bio-engineering related programs. I would never have such a chance to ask any more!
Although by faith we know that GOD has HIS time for everyone of us to live one's life, we are still very saddened by David's unexpected leaving for the heavenly home. He has now reunited with the Lord and parents with eternal peace.
Frank and Shelly