Tung Hon Jeong
December 19, 1931 – May 4, 2015
Tung H. Jeong, Holography Pioneer & Educator (1931-2015)
"Life is a hologram" Tung Hon Jeong once said. How you experience life depends on the perspective from which you choose to see it. Despite tragic beginnings, Jeong, with his effusive optimism and emblematic energy, always saw himself as lucky—lucky to be alive, lucky to live, and lucky to have lived.
Jeong, known by many as TJ or Sunne, first became enchanted by holography in 1965, upon a generous meeting with Emmett Leith, co-inventor of the 3D hologram. For the next five decades, Jeong passionately pursued holography as a prodigious researcher, businessman, administrator, spokesman, and most proudly, as teacher, serving as Professor of Physics at the Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, IL, from 1963 until his passing.
Born around 1931 in the countryside village of Hoiping, China, Jeong did not know his real birthday or his natural parents. Sold to a landlord's family at a young age during a time of floods, famine, epidemics and unrest in China, Jeong with his adopted mother narrowly escaped the invading Japanese army, fleeing his village and hiding in caves until he reached Hong Kong. When Hong Kong was bombed, he fled to Macau. When Macau was bombed, he fled back to the village, where later, after World War II, he fled again— this time from the Chinese Communist Party out to persecute families of landlords. Jeong then emigrated to the United States, ending up in Amarillo, Texas. By a stroke of luck, his grade school teacher saw Jeong's natural gift for mathematics and physics, and then put it upon herself to teach him English. Eventually, Jeong graduated salutatorian of his class at Amarillo High School with a full scholarship to Yale University. After Yale, Jeong went on to the University of Minnesota, where he earned his PhD in nuclear physics in 1962, and met his beloved wife Anna.
A teacher at heart, Jeong aimed to make holography known and accessible to everyone. For nearly 40 years, Jeong hosted annual holography workshops for novices and experts alike, and lectured and consulted at over 500 universities, professional societies, and corporations worldwide. Many of his students went on to start and build the hologram industry as we know it today. Jeong is founder of a number of prominent holography conferences, including the International Symposium on Display Holography, a triennial conference attracting scientists, artists, and businessmen worldwide. With his wife, Jeong also co-founded Integraf, an international distributor of holography supplies to schools, hobbyists, and businesses.
"TJ probably gave more people their first introduction to holography than any other single teacher, communicator or enthusiast," writes Ian Lancaster, General Secretary of the International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA) and founder of Reconnaissance International.
A pioneer and leading voice for the development of holography, Jeong has been a recipient of the Robert Millikan Medal from the American Association of Physics Teachers, the Saxby Medal of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the IHMA, and Fellow of the Optical Society of America, among numerous other accolades.
Outside the limelight, Jeong was deeply a family man. Jeong cherished spending time with his family, whether travelling to all parts of the world together, enjoying classical music and dining with his wife, or simply windsurfing and holding barbecues at their summer lake home. An avid violinist, Jeong was also a founding member of the North Suburban Symphony Orchestra.
Jeong passed away peacefully on May 4, in Tallahassee, FL, after a gallant battle with prostate cancer. Jeong is survived by his wife of 53 years Anna, sons Allan and Alec, daughter Alicia, and two grandchildren.
A memorial to celebrate Jeong's life journey will be held on Saturday, July 18, 2015, at 1:00 PM, at the Glen Rowan House at Lake Forest College, 500 N. Sheridan Road, Lake Forest, IL, 60045. Please kindly RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tung Hon Jeong
May 31, 2015
There are those who thing the worst of one another. And those who always think the best. TJ was among the ladder. Our encounters where always meaningful.
I can truly say that his deep interest in education and generosity set the stage for the whole of my life's work.
May 22, 2015
I would not have had the life, and career I have had if it were not for Dr. Jeong. His enthusiastic lectures on Holography at the School of the Art Institute, where I was studying photography in 1976 called me to explore Holography which I did, and to make it, in one way or another, my vocation.
TJ always had a wonderful energy for Holography and the people who found an interest in it. One of his greatest gifts was that of community and through his founding of the International Symposia on Display Holography, he gave all of us who believed in this medium a place to share our ideas and knowledge. That led me to form lifelong friendships and professional relationships.
We will miss you TJ. Thanks for everything you gave us.
May 20, 2015
I have only just been informed today of T.J.'s passing. I was very sad to hear of this news and my condolences to his family. I studied holography with T.J. at Lake Forest College, Holography Workshops II and III, 1987 and 1988. T.J. was at heart a fabulous teacher and brilliant at gathering a circle of an International set of holographic artists and scientists from all over the world at Lake Forest College in those unique days. His life history with his emigrating from China to the US as a young boy, which he tenderly shared with a group of us at a dinner table during SPIE 2003, was remarkable. he was fun and had a great sense of humor. Most of all he leaves a legacy as a great teacher/ coordinator, and will be missed by his holography community.
May 15, 2015
Herzlichstes Beileid an alle amerikanischen Familienmitglieder und Freunde von Maria. Ich bin eine Nichte aus Österreich, sie war die Schwester meines verstorbenen Vaters Johann Matula. Im Namen meiner Kinder,Manuela und Hannes, die Ihre Grotante vor einigen Jahren in Amerika besuchen durften. In Trauer Sonja Meischl
May 12, 2015
Very sorry to hear of Dr. Jeong's passing. His pioneering work in holography will live on in future generations. My deepest condolences to his family.
May 6, 2015
So sorry to hear of Dr. Jeong's passing. One of my favorite professors---brilliant with a terrific sense of humor. I was explaining holography to our 16 year old just this week and ironically was also telling stories of Dr. Jeong...our thoughts and prayers are with the family. Class of 1981, Lake Forest College