Emmanuel Sang
Emmanuel Sang
  • January 8, 1931 - February 18, 2017
  • Portland, Oregon

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Emmanuel Sang of Portland, OR passed away peacefully at the age of 86 on February 18, 2017 of natural causes. He will be remembered for his dedication to his family, his quiet determination, his incredible patience and perseverance, and his great appetite for adventure, good food and good wine.

Emmanuel was born on January 8, 1931 in Port Louis, the capital city of Mauritius, a tiny island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. He was the second of four children of Eugene Fok Ning Yow Sang and Idéa Hang Shay. Emmanuel’s father died when he was young, and his mother had significant health issues, so he grew up living with his beloved aunt, Tante Nette and his siblings. He attended high school at Royal College in Curepipe, a boys-only secondary school renowned in Mauritius for its academic excellence. After graduating, he spent two years working as a teacher and private tutor in math and physics to support his younger siblings, Sylvio and Claudette, and to save money for college. It was then that Emmanuel met 17-year old Gladys Hsu, who became one of his pupils and would later become his wife.

Emmanuel attended King’s College at the University of Durham, now known as Newcastle University, in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in three years with honors in Math and Physics. He graduated July 5, 1958, a very special milestone, as it was also the day of his marriage to Gladys, his lifelong partner. His excellence in academics as an undergraduate earned him a place at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver as a Commonwealth Scholar, where he studied for his Masters in Electrical Engineering from 1960 to 1962. He then attended the University of Oxford (Linacre College) in Oxford, England on a US Air Force grant, earning his DPhil (Oxford’s version of a PhD) in Physical Sciences from the Department of Engineering Science in 1966. Shortly after getting his doctorate, Emmanuel and Gladys moved to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada where he pursued a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Alberta in Electrical Engineering and later became an assistant professor. Emmanuel’s two daughters Elaine and Michelle were born in Edmonton.

In 1970, after working for several years in academia, Emmanuel chose to take a research position in Tek Labs at Tektronix in Beaverton, Oregon. He was thrilled at the chance to fulfill his dreams of becoming an American citizen and provide his daughters with the opportunity to attend what he felt were the best colleges in the world. He saw this dream fully realized when he proudly received his US citizenship in 1976, America’s bicentennial year, and his two daughters later graduated from Harvard College. Emmanuel worked at Tektronix for over 22 years until his retirement in 1993. During his time there, he was awarded five patents for his research in microchannel plate physics, microwave and surface acoustic wave technologies.

Emmanuel had many diverse interests that were not apparent on the surface, as he was a man of few words. He enjoyed art, literature, history, theatre and music and was an adventurer and an explorer. He was a lover of Shakespeare, regularly attending the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and reciting quotes with a smile and a twinkle in his eye. He had an incredible passion for travel. As a graduate student at Oxford, he and Gladys would jump into their Austin A40 van and drive all around Europe camping or staying in inns or hostels. Throughout his life, he visited numerous countries across the continents of Africa, North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. He loved any outdoor activity, including camping, hunting, fishing, crabbing, hiking, snorkeling, and skiing. In 1967, in celebration of Canada’s centennial year, he and several colleagues at University of Alberta climbed all ten of the mountains in the famous Valley of the Ten Peaks in Banff National Park. During his many travels, he river rafted, kayaked, parasailed, snorkeled, and rode rollercoasters. Emmanuel took great pride in staying fit, weightlifting, doing calisthenics, jogging, and swimming. His love of swimming led him to help found the Tualatin Hills Masters Swim Club. He was also a keen supporter of his daughters’ participation in competitive swimming, taking on roles as meet referee, starter, and Tualatin Hills Swim Club President. He worked on the committee which built the Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center on Walker Road in 1978, one of the few Olympic-sized swimming pools in the area. He was an avid sports fan, enjoying watching soccer (“football,” as he called it), tennis, basketball, boxing, swimming, and the Olympics. He had a lifelong passion for photography, capturing innumerable special moments from his life and travels. He was skilled in the darkroom, developing film and making his own prints and carefully cataloging all his work. In his later years, he took up ballroom dancing, watercolor painting, ping pong, and shooting pool. He very much enjoyed being a grandfather, taking his two grandsons on outings every week when they were little. He was also an active member of the Chinese Scientists, Engineers, and Professionals Association.

Family and friends will miss Emmanuel’s beaming smile, joyous laugh, kind and adventurous nature, quirky sense of humor, and his great enthusiasm for life. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Gladys, his sister Claudette Seeyave of Rose Hill, Mauritius, his niece and goddaughter Eileen, his daughters Michelle and Elaine (Mountain View, CA), his three grandchildren, Elliot and Ansel Balmer and Sylvan Free, and several nieces and nephews. His elder sister Solange and younger brother Sylvio predeceased him.

As an expression of sympathy, please consider a donation to Oxford University earmarked for Graduate Scholarships or Graduate Student Support in memory of Dr. Emmanuel Sang, DPhil Physical Sciences, 1966. For information on how to give, please go to https://www.oxfordna.org/giving_how.htm