OBITUARY

Constance Chang Teh Yung Lin

February 8, 1922January 10, 2020

Constance Chang Teh Yung Lin, 97, passed January 10, 2020. Born February 8, 1922 in Shanghai China, she is survived by her sons Raymond (Loyti) and Sherman, daughter-in-law Jeanette, grandchildren James, Katherine and Rebecca and great grandchildren Jessica and Justin. She was predeceased by her husband, Philip and her eldest son, Tony. Constance attended the University of Shanghai graduating in 1944 with a degree in Physics. She retired in 1987 as one of the chief computer programmers (Systems Analyst) for the City of Tampa. As a Tampa resident for over 50 years, she helped to found the Chinese Christian Alliance Church, 312 E. 127th Avenue, Tampa, Florida 33612, where a memorial service will be held at 1 pm, Saturday, January 18, to be followed by a short reception in the fellowship hall. Friends of the family are welcome to attend.

Services

18 January

Memorial Service

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Chinese Christian Alliance Church of Tampa Bay

312 E. 127th Ave.
Tampa, Florida 33612

Memories

Constance Chang Teh Yung Lin

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YINGPING LIU

January 15, 2020

A gifted self-taught computer programmer and real estate investor, a devoted Christian, a “shrewd” Mahjong player (Chinese table game that requires logical reasoning), an royal audience of 80’s soap opera “Dallas “, a beautiful and passionate human being as well as a loving wife and a protective mother ...
You will always live in the endearing memory of those who were lucky enough to benefit from your unique wisdom, profound kindness, immense generosity, and unconditional love. I will always miss you, 舅妈!

Raymond Lin

January 13, 2020

After struggling for so long to come to the US, Constance applied for citizenship as soon as possible and became a citizen in 1964, the same year that their third son, Sherman was born.

1964 was a year of both great triumph and difficulty for Constance. In order to support their growing family, Philip had moved to Tampa, Florida to try out a job as a City Planner. But Tampa in 1965 was like a foreign country to those coming from north of the Mason Dixon line. People spoke with a funny accent and there were almost no Chinese people in the area. In 1965, Philip passed the trial period for his new job and Constance and the boys moved to Tampa. Tampa was very trying for Constance. There were no Chinese people. She had no friends or relatives. So she made new friends of her neighbors, including the Callahan family and the Knight family, with whom the Lin family are still close to today. The people of Tampa welcomed the Lin family.

Here is the Lin family in the late 60’s standing in their front yard. The picture was probably taken by Tony who was home from MIT, probably on a Christmas break. (Note the sweatshirt that Raymond is wearing which was a gift from Tony). It’s probably Christmas because that is the only time it is cool enough to wear a sweatshirt!

Raymond Lin

January 13, 2020

Here is Constance with her second son Raymond shortly after he was born.

Raymond Lin

January 13, 2020

The Korean War ended and Philip was out of a job. The immigration quota into the US for Chinese meant that they would have to wait for an indeterminable period. They emigrated to Brazil where they struggled with the Portuguese language for over a year. Finally, they came to the US in July 1957 on a tourist visa. Philip then desperately tried to find work. The family records are replete with letters and regretful rejections. Then they discovered that they also had a biological clock that was ticking. Constance was pregnant with their second child who had an expected due date of May 1958. On March 20, 1958, they received terrible news in a letter (below) that stated: “Your application for an extension of temporary stay has been denied. It will be necessary for you to depart from the United States not later than April 20, 1958. Failure to depart by this date may result in the issuance of a warrant for your arrest..” Then next shoe dropped. Their second son, Raymond, was born prematurely on April 8th. One can only imagine how Constance terrified Constance must have been, with a premature baby and a deportation order, but Constance always had great faith that God would provide.

During that month, Philip was able to convince a professor at Yale to give him a job and sponsor him. On April 17th, 3 days before an arrest warrant could be issued for her deportation, she received a notice that stated: “The petition for first preference classification filed on your behalf by Yale University has been approved.” She was then granted an extension on her visa.

Raymond Lin

January 13, 2020

After leaving China in 1949 with virtually nothing but the clothes on their back, Constance and her husband then embarked on a 10-year odyssey around the world as refugees. They spent 3 years in Hong Kong, 4 years in Japan (where Philip worked for the US Army during the Korean War) and a year in Sao Paulo Brazil. Their goal was to come to the United States where Philip held a bachelor’s degree and 2 master’s degrees. However, at the time, the immigration quota for Chinese was limited. In 1955, their application for a visa was approved, but in a letter from the US Consul in Japan, they were told: “in view of the heavily oversubscribed condition of the Chinese quota you may anticipate an indeterminable waiting period before your turn is reached.”

The photo is an example of the artwork created by Philip in Japan as a graphic designer for the US Army Propaganda warfare group during he Korean War.

Raymond Lin

January 13, 2020

The Communists took over China in 1949. Life was about to change drastically. Constance’s husband wanted to leave China because his father had been a capitalist and a lawyer. Philip received a report that the Communists were watching the Lin house. They conceived a plan to leave Beijing secretly for Hong Kong while the border was still open. First, Philip went to Hong Kong. Then Constance had her suitcase sent to a friend’s house in Beijing to avoid the Communists noticing that they were leaving China. Constance walked out of her Beijing house with nothing more than her baby son and 2 US $100 bills sewn into her dress. She met her friend at the train station who gave her the suitcase and she took a train to the border. She walked into Hong Kong by herself, carefully balancing her one-year son and her suitcase. Constance told a friend once that she had no regrets about leaving everything behind in China because material possessions can always be replaced, but nothing can replace the opportunity she bought for her son by walking into Hong Kong with virtually nothing. Here is Constance and her son in Hong Kong.

Raymond Lin

January 13, 2020

After college, she became a teacher at her high school until she married her husband, Philip Chi-Cheng Lin, in December 1946. She moved to Beijing to be with her husband’s family. Life with her new family was not easy. She had to learn a new language. Her husband’s family spoke Mandarin, and she spoke Shanghainese. Her mother-in-law was also relentless about her having a child. She became so worried that Constance hadn’t become pregnant within the first few months of marriage, that she held a séance with a medium to call up the spirit of Constance’s husband’s late grandfather. Constance tells of the medium’s voice suddenly changing, and booming, “Don’t bother me with these details! Everything will be fine. Now leave me alone!” Shortly thereafter, Constance became pregnant, and her first son, Tony Lin, was born only 18 months after her wedding. Grandmother Lin formally bowed to Constance for bearing a son to continue the Lin name.

Raymond Lin

January 13, 2020

Constance was fearless in her determination to succeed. She was never afraid of a challenge. She attended Christian missionary schools because her mother had been converted to Christianity as a child. When she graduated from high school (Besant’s School for Girls in Shanghai), she wanted to attend college. At that time, very few women in China attended school, much less college. She was rejected from most institutions because they had reserved all of their places for men. Finally, one school, the University of Shanghai, accepted her, with the condition that she would not be able to select her major and that she only could take a position that was not filled by men. This was a ploy to keep her out of school because she was told that the only position available was in the Physics Department, and the University thought that she would turn down the offer since Physics was too difficult for most men, much less a woman. Constance’s reply was simple: “That’s great! I love math!” She graduated in 1944 as one of only two women in the Physics department. She did so well that after graduation she was hired as a teaching assistant at the University of Shanghai.

Raymond Lin

January 13, 2020

Constance Chang Teh-Yung Lin was born on February 8, 1922 in Shanghai China. She was the third and youngest daughter of her father, Tsung-Yuan Chang (or Zhang Zongyuan in the pinyin romanization), and was the second child of her mother, Yao Ching Lee (her mother was the second wife, the first having passed away after giving birth to her oldest brother). At the time of her birth, her father was living in retirement from government service after having served as a senior economic and legal advisor to the last Emperor of China and later as Vice Minister of Finance to the first President of China. Her father also served as a special financial envoy to London, director of the Chinese mint, and head of a commission to reform the Chinese monetary system. He was one of the first western trained Chinese economists and one of the first monetary policy central bankers in China, having received a degree in commerce (economics) from the University of California in 1907. Her father also had the highest score in the last imperial civil service examination, which was held exclusively for students who had studied abroad; and thus could be described in some ways as the smartest man in China of his generation. This photo is from 1925. Constance is the little girl in the white dress in the first row at the bottom. Her mother is behind her and the boy next to her is her second elder brother. The old gentleman is her grandfather, and behind her grandfather is her eldest brother and her father (on the left) and her uncle.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY