A personal tribute to my respected lifetime colleague and forever dear friend Jim
From Henry Yang
Words do not exist for me to describe my sadness when I heard the passing of your dad.
For two days I do not know how to write and to express. Finally today I thought I would write you this letter as a personal tribute to my respected lifetime colleague and forever dear friend Jim.
I have known Jim since the first day when he joined Purdue. For over two decades, until his departure to Texas A&M, I maintained weekly, if not daily, conversations with him. Very often, when we walked home together from the office at 6pm (he was a very punctuate man), we had a chat. Sometimes, we even stayed at the street corner for ten, twenty, or more minutes to finish our never complete conversation. I could remember seeing Anna looking at us from the small kitchen window waving at us patiently with a smile. All our conversations, ranging from sports, work, research, friends, to family, left me with a long lasting memory of his deep rooted commitment with kindness and care to others. Sometimes his kindness was taken for granted by some, and he always responded with more "ocean-deep" kindness and forgiveness.
I still vividly remembered the proud conversations we had when you were ready to go to UIUC. Although my sorrow for his passing is nowhere near yours, it might be a comfort for you to know that he was very proud of you and very verrrry happy and satisfied of his own life. You have always been a big comfort to him.
I remember the day when I traveled with Jim's best UIUC friend Kingsun Fu on April 28, 1985 to WDC, He died suddenly that night. Before I called Mrs. Fu, Viola, I asked your mom and Dilling to visit Viola at 11:30pm to wait for my call so I could broke the shocking news to her, to avoid unexpected to happen. When your mom and Dilling drove home, after receiving my call, through the Salisburry Street, your mom all of a sudden asked "where are we?". You could just imagine, how devastated I was that night to take care of everything in WDC.
In the subsequent year, Jim was the one who spent a lot of time with me and helped both of us to get through that difficult period not just for me and him, but for everyone. I remeber one day he said, "we will soon or later going to join King Sun." Yes, Jim is joining King Sun now. Had King Sun not gone at that time, Jim would have continued pioneering their joint research on the fuzzy set theory and application to earchquake engineering. I don't know if Jim ever told you, his first ground breaking paper on introducing the concept of aircraft control to building structures has always been acknowledged as among the first original paper in the field.
Last year when Jim wrote me about his moving to the retirement home, he expressed his excitement and enthusiasm. He is not only a giant in his field professionally, he is also one of finest human beings I have ever known.
Please take good care of yourself. You have been a very best son.