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R.S. Kane Funeral Home

6150 Yonge St., North York, ON

OBITUARIO

Dr. Wing Hong Tam

14 febrero , 193815 mayo , 2020

On May 15, 2020, our dearly beloved husband, father, brother, uncle and friend, Wing Hong Tam, passed away at Toronto General Hospital from complications associated with COVID-19. True to his character, he fought like a lion to the very finish.

Born in Hong Kong on February 14, 1938, Wing Hong was the eldest of six brothers and sisters born to Michael Yue Shing Tam and Wai Hing Tam. He attended St. Joseph’s College in Hong Kong before moving on to the University of Hong Kong, where he earned a B.Sc. (biology) and a Ph.D. (endocrinology). After receiving his Ph.D., he completed a three year postdoctoral fellowship at the Wellcome Institute of Comparative Physiology at the Zoological Society of London, U.K. In 1971, he accepted a position as a Professor in the Department of Zoology at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. He would remain at Western for 35 years until his retirement, devoted to his research in comparative and reproductive endocrinology, teaching the many thousands of undergraduates who attended his classes, and mentoring scores of graduate students. He was very proud of his work and career.

It was just prior to commencing his doctoral studies at HKU that Wing Hong met Cecilia Koo, and love soon blossomed between them over movie dates, picnics, and romantic strolls around Victoria Peak. He later said “they always knew” without the need for words, and they married in 1967. All told, they were together for 57 years, very rarely apart and separated only by his passing. They lovingly raised two children – Andrew, a lawyer, and Amy, a doctor – and Wing would practically burst with pride at their academic, personal and professional achievements. He was just as proud of the achievements of his nieces and nephews.

In what free time he had, Wing enjoyed varied pursuits, including the study of history, reading about current events, researching and writing about Asian ceramics, listening to opera and classical music, travelling with family, watching movies with friends and socializing over dinners and dim sum. Above all, he enjoyed his time with Cecilia and, in recent years, as she suffered health issues, he displayed incredible and touching devotion to her care.

Wing is survived, loved and deeply missed by Cecilia, his children, his five brothers and sisters – Jenny (David), Mabel (Peter), Bill (Min), Albert (Matilda) and Vivian (Michael), their children, and the rest of the Tam and Koo families. He is also loved and dearly missed by Andrew’s partner, Jo-Anne, who was a near-constant companion to Wing (and Cecilia) in recent months, and who formed a special bond with Wing.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis, an intimate, private service will be held at R. S. Kane Funeral Home in Toronto on Thursday, May 21, 2020. Once it is safe to travel and gather in larger numbers, the Tam family will host a proper celebration of life and “big eat” to make Wing Hong proud.

Donations in Wing Hong’s memory can be directed to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, or to a worthy charity of your choice.

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Recuerdos

Dr. Wing Hong Tam

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Jack and Donna Millar

junio 2, 2020

Dear Cecelia and family;
We first met you and Tam in 1971 when we were part of a cohort of 6 new hires in the Department of Zoology. Michael Locke, the new Chair, had a mandate to improve the research profile of the department, making for interesting times. Three of those new hires soon departed, but we remained at UWO to build our careers over the next 4 decades.
We had different research interests (physiology vs ecology) but we served on many committees together. Tam was a very friendly colleague, never prone to anger, always with a smile on his face and a joke or story to tell. He was dedicated to his teaching and research. When funding for basic research became scarce and he could no longer support graduate students, he continued with his experiments, even coming to campus on weekends to care for his animals.
In retirement, we both had desks in the “old folks” quarters in the Collip building where he pursued his interest in history. When I asked him why he spent so much time on Chinese rather than Canadian history, he explained there was because there was a lot more of it in China than Canada. He was devoted to his family and very proud of his children’s careers in medicine and law. When I teased him about having no scientists in his family, he would laugh and remind me that I didn’t either.
Post-retirement, Tam took over the family grocery shopping and Donna would often encounter him in Costco, cruising the aisles, looking for a bargain. She remembers his big smile and his interest in chatting about family events.
We have many fond memories of Tam. He was a true gentleman and scholar.

David Mackett

mayo 31, 2020

I completed my Master's degree in Dr. Tam's lab in the late 1980s. He was a wonderful, supportive supervisor and a lovely man. He had a terrific sense of humour and I always enjoyed our chats that often strayed beyond the world of fish physiology. He spoke so highly of his kids, Andrew and Amy, and was incredibly proud of them. My deepest condolences to you, your mum and the whole family.

Lin Dr. Tham

mayo 30, 2020

My husband and I are deeply saddened by the passing of Professor Wing Hong Tam. To Cecilia and family, please accept our sympathy and condolences. I met Prof Tam about 12 years ago at a dinner gathering, being introduced to him by a mutual friend. I was instantly drawn to his friendly, cheerful disposition, his keenness to acquire knowledge in science, his vast interest and knowledge in human physiology, Chinese and British history & cultures, antiques, classical music etc. We became friends, often share meals and conversations in each other’s homes. His deep devotion, selfless, constant care to Cecilia was admirable. We will miss him a great deal, but will cherish the memories of the good times we had with him. Our thoughts are with his family during this difficult and sad time.

Paul Dickie

mayo 29, 2020

My wife Lauren Dickie ( Dr McCurdy) studied biology under Dr Tam 1971-72 and I studied the next year using her notes while both trying to enter medical school.
Fortunately we were both accepted in 1973 with a great deal of help from Dr Tam. Lauren (known by her nickname Loli) was particularly fond of Dr Tam and being a real keener would frequent his office after classes. Loli passed away last June after suffering from very early onset dementia and I am sure if she were still here would add her condolences . I am also sure that Dr Tam would remember "Loli " as that bothersome student.
My condolences to Mrs Tam and family

Chris Guglielmo

mayo 22, 2020

My sincere condolences on your loss. I was hired as a physiologist at Western in 2005 and "inherited" Dr. Tam's laboratory. He was one of the first people I met after arriving and he was always very gracious and helpful during my transition to the new job. We went through lots of boxes of glassware and equipment and I even have and use some of it still. He was a great colleague and will be greatly missed.

Terrence Tam

mayo 21, 2020

I will forever remember Uncle Wing Hong as one of the greatest cheerleaders in my life. He was always a wonderful sounding board, providing insightful advice when needed. I know how proud he was of me when I became a physician, as he would often refer to me as "Doctor Tam". Ina nod to his stubborn streak, he gifted me a beautiful pen upon completion of medical school to use to "write my first prescription" despite the medical field moving further and further into the digital age. He was a pillar of our family and in my life. I will miss him every day,

Terrence

Vanessa Tam

mayo 21, 2020

Dear Bak Bak,

We are going to miss you so much. I was too little to remember much, when you came to stay with us during your sabbatical. You took care of me then. You also predicted what I would become when I grew up. I was no more than a year and a half old. As I pointed to pill bottles and said " yeurk, yeurk - medicine, medicine", you told my mom that I will be a pharmacist !! I was looking at pictures of you and I and my brother together. Bring back such fond memories of our times together. I love you. Rest in peace.

Vanessa

Robert Roy

mayo 21, 2020

Dear Amy, Andrew, and Cecilia,

I had the privilege of studying as a graduate student under you father's guidance for many years in the early 1980's, first for a Master's, then a doctorate. We kept in touch intermittently for a number of years after I left Western.

What impressed me the most about him was his "multi-facetedness" (I can't find the right word): During his lunch breaks, he would read books on geography, history, as well as his regular diet of science publications.

I also discovered that he was a story-teller: He would regale me and others in his lab with stories of his studies in Hong Kong or London, of an event that held his interest in a book he was reading, or the pride he felt for each of the members of his family.

My memory of him will always be of him standing at a lab bench pipetting solutions or sitting in his office peering down a microscope. To me, he illustrated the curiosity, perseverance, and dedication of a naturally-born scientist.

Please accept my sincere condolences on Dr Tam's passing. May he rest in peace.

Gregor Reid

mayo 20, 2020

What a lovely man he was. So kind and warm-hearted. The photo is exactly as I remember him out walking his dog. Big welcoming smile on his face. Always a greeting and happy to see you. How we need people like him.
So cruel how part of life means losing loved ones. He certainly left his mark on science on the lives of students and on everyone he met. As he rests in peace with the Angels, may his family find comfort in all that he gave to this world. He truly was a sacred soul.

Jackie Sparks

mayo 20, 2020

Dear Andrew and Amy, I am honored to have known your father. He was truly a blessing in my life and I will miss him. My condolences.

My memories as his research technician of the many hours that we spent working together in the lab; hours of completing RIAs together! His knowledge, kindness, and humour, remain with me.

Later, as a Zoology/Biology teaching technician we worked together for many years in the undergrad teaching labs for (271) Vertebrate Biology, and (370) Reproduction. He was a joy to watch with students, so enthusiastic to impart his knowledge to them, so patient in explanations, always willing to answer questions.

A wonderful gentle man, my “go to” person for over 25 years when I needed his knowledge for any of my assigned undergrad courses. He will be missed.


DE LA FAMILIA