Sparkman/Hillcrest Funeral Home & Hillcrest Mausoleum & Memorial Park
7405 West Northwest Highway, Dallas, TX
Chao Chen Mai
February 26, 1936 – January 14, 2019
Chao Chen Mai, 82, retired President and Chief Operating Officer of Dallas Semiconductor Corporation, passed away on January 14, 2019, at the William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital, UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Chao Mai was born in 1936 in Canton, China. As war enveloped China in the 1950s, Chao, his parents and his seven siblings moved toward safety in the south, eventually fleeing to Taiwan, where Chao served in the army. Chao made his first trip to the United States as a young soldier in 1958 to participate in a U.S./Taiwanese military training program. Upon retuning to Taiwan, he was promoted to Captain of Taiwan’s Missle Battalion.
In 1962, Chao emigrated to the United States to pursue graduate degrees at Oregon and Utah State Universities. His fiancée, Shao Shen Yam, joined him at Utah State in 1963 to study pharmaceutical chemistry. The couple married in 1964 and their first son, Glenn, was born in 1966.
Having completed a doctoral degree in electrical engineering, Chao moved his young family to Massachusetts, where he worked as a project engineer at Sylvania. In 1969, the couple became naturalized U.S. Citizens. In 1971, Chao and Shao’s younger son, Kenneth, was born. In 1972, the family moved to Texas, where Chao became an avid Dallas Cowboys fan, and attending Thanksgiving Day games became a family tradition. In Dallas, Chao worked for Mostek Corporation. When United Technologies acquired Mostek in 1979, Chao was promoted to Vice President of Research and Development.
In 1984, Chao and several Mostek colleagues founded Dallas Semiconductor Corporation, a specialty integrated circuit manufacturer. The company thrived, taking its stock public on the NASDAQ Exchange in 1987. In 1990, the corporation was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. By 2000, Dallas Semiconductor employed over 1,500 people, primarily at its Dallas headquarters. In his twenty years at Dallas Semiconductor, Chao held various leadership roles, eventually becoming President and Chief Operating Officer in 2000. Dallas Semiconductor was acquired by Maxim Integrated Products in 2001, and Chao retired from Maxim / Dallas Semiconductor in 2004.
Throughout his career, Chao was awarded multiple fundamental patents related to the manufacturing of integrated circuits. He was recognized by his peers for his contributions to the engineering and business communities. In 1988, he was a finalist for the Dallas/Ft. Worth Businessman of the Year award. For several years after his retirement, Chao served on the executive board of Southern Methodist University’s School of Engineering.
Chao’s commitment to his work was only surpassed by his devotion to his family. Chao and Shao’s son Glenn is a retired Federal employee living in Virginia and their son Kenneth is a professor of electrical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Chao and Shao have four grandchildren: Charlie, 23, Henry, 20, Emily, 13, and Alex, 11.
There will be a memorial service for Chao at Sparkman/Hillcrest Funeral Home on Saturday, February 23, at noon. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to UT Southwestern Medical Center, PO Box 910888, Dallas, Texas 75319-0888, or online at www.utsouthwestern.edu/donatenow to support the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute.
- UT Southwestern Medical Center,
- Memorial Service Saturday, February 23, 2019