YUAN-TSAN CHIA, PH.D.

YT (as she was called by friends and colleagues in America) was born in her ancestral province of Shanxi, China in 1928 and was the much-loved youngest child of Ching-Teh and En-Chang Chia's five children. She persevered through many difficulties to obtain a good education, became the first member of her family to permanently relocate to the United States, and forged a distinguished career in science at a time when it was not typical for women to do so in an expert capacity. Dr. Chia was a research chemist at DuPont for decades and a long-time resident of Wilmington.

She received her early education in mainland China as an inspired and diligent high school and university student in Chongqing and Nanjing before following her family to Taiwan during the turbulent war years; she graduated from National Taiwan University in 1951 with a degree in chemistry and worked as a teaching assistant there before going to the United States for graduate school in 1953. YT was first a teaching assistant at Mills College in Oakland, California and was kindly encouraged by Mills faculty after a short time to transfer to the University of California at Berkeley after she was selected for the prestigious Li Foundation scholarship for advanced studies, with the strong recommendation of President Chien and Professor Pan of NTU. She received a master's degree and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Berkeley in 1958, with the esteemed Professor Robert Connick as a much-appreciated mentor. YT then did post-doctoral research at the University of Wisconsin before joining DuPont in 1960.

Dr. Chia was the first woman to join the Central Research Department at DuPont and enjoyed an active work life there for more than thirty years; she was extremely devoted to the company and to her many colleagues, and was very proud to have made a number of useful contributions. She obtained a number of patents, collaborated on noteworthy projects (including improvements to the manufacturing processes for synthetic fibers, plus development of various Teflon and Kevlar applications) and published many scientific papers during her career before retiring in 1993. YT was also an active member of the American Chemical Society and a charter member of the Wilmington branch of the American Association of University Women.

YT was well known for her sharp intelligence, humble kindness, and eagerness to learn about interesting new things and to thoughtfully appreciate the best in others. She was unfailingly supportive with people in every generation, and each member of the family has unique personal stories of her sensible insights, care, gentle and gracious humor, and encouraging advice over the years.

She is survived by eight devoted nieces and nephews living in the U.S. and Taiwan, a number of great-nephews and great-nieces, and many great-grand-nephews and nieces. YT also had a large number of cherished and abiding friendships through her life.

YT's family would like to express its deepest appreciation for the care and help extended by good friends and neighbors to YT during the last phase of her life, particularly the extraordinary kindness of Helen Tang Yates, Linda Downs, and Dr. Shirley Ting. In addition, many heartfelt thanks go to the caring staff of Rockland Place and Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care; they gave both YT and her family much comfort at the end of her life.

YT asked that her estate be given to the College of Chemistry at the University of California-Berkeley in honor of Professor Connick; memorial contributions may be sent to the College at UC Berkeley, to the Wilmington Art Museum, or to the American Association of University Women - Wilmington Delaware Branch.

Burial will be held privately.

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