Charles Ying, part-time Vail resident, 1946-2010
Vail, CO Colorado
We are extremely saddened to say that Charles Ying lost his two and a half year battle with lung cancer Sept. 9. He was 63. His loving wife, Jacqui, of over 20 years was at his side when he peacefully passed away. He was a lifelong nonsmoker.
Charles was born in September 1946 in Chongqing, China. He is survived by his older brother, Richard, and two younger sisters, Liza and Julia. His family left mainland China for Hong Kong in the 1950s and Charles, along with his brother, Richard, was sent to Switzerland to study at the technical institute in Zurich, also known as ETH. After a long overseas journey from China, 15-year-old Charles found out that his parents had been unaware of the mandatory age requirement of 18 for admission to ETH. While patiently taking classes that should help him get in later, it was brought to his attention that there was a school on the East Coast in the U.S. that took students at 16, if they passed the entry exam. Both Ying brothers applied to M.I.T., passed the exam and were accepted. At the time, they had no idea how prestigious M.I.T was and how it would change their future.
In a record two years, Charles got his BS from M.I.T and later added his MS in electrical engineering. He also obtained an MBA from Harvard while in the midst of co-founding his own company, Atex Inc., in 1973. At the time, we, as a society were still using the antiquated Gutenberg-model printing presses, which required the pouring of hot lead into the stamp-machine until Charles formed Atex with his brother and a third M.I.T. graduate, Doug Drane. Together, from a room the size of an attic, they built and sold their first automated-digital-printing press computer to replace the old Gutenberg-model. From there it was on to The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and L.A. Times. Soon, every newspaper in the country used Charles’ invention. In 1983, Atex had become so successful that Eastman Kodak acquired the company.
All along while working 18-hour shifts, Charles always somehow found time for his family. His first born daughter Wendy, now 40, and son Randy, now 39, remember their father as a caring and loving dad that taught them how to ski, swim, took them traveling and brought them into work if he had to be there on Sundays. There, he would let them roller skate in the hallways of the buildings.
After selling Atex, Charles continued to nourish his entrepreneurial spirit by founding an investment group with like-minded Atex alums who would consult and assist fledgling high-tech start-up companies and even brought his own pet project to life, MyFonts.com. He served as president and CEO of Information International in Los Angeles and Bitstream Inc. in Cambridge, Mass. Computers were his hobby, his passion, his life. His understanding and appreciation of technology no doubt came from his engineering background and his gift of understanding how hardware systems operate. Charles had the ability to look out several years and see the culmination of current trends.
He knew everything about everything and always took the time to research and understand a subject thoroughly. Charles also had another gift – he had a heart like none other and knew the meaning of totally selfless giving. Charles’ generosity, kindness and positive personality touched everyone he came into contact with. And he was loved and adored by so many people around the world. He was a big contributor to all the communities he resided in, from Boston to Colorado to Seattle to San Francisco to Los Angeles and Hawaii. That a man who was so successful, so widely traveled and known by so many people, would take time to do simple upgrades on laptops for people he hardly even knew or take them out for lunch and dinner showed the gentle heart he had.
He was an inspirational person with a big spirit to match. He was also a great teacher and an optimist with tremendous integrity. His amazing intellect didn’t go by unnoticed by his treating doctors. They were so impressed with him and how he had educated himself to the point where he knew almost more about the disease than the doctors. To no one’s surprise, the doctors were honored to become his personal friends. A love of skiing brought Charles and second wife, Swiss-born Jacqui, to Vail in 1987. He was also an avid windsurfer and scuba diver and spent the last of his 20 years between Kailua, Hawaii, and Vail. He loved to travel the world and enjoyed being the Mac expert for his family and many friends. Charles was also a wonderful father to daughter Jasmine, 15 and son Cian, 11. The loss of their dad is immeasurable.
Charles is survived by his wife, Jacqui and children, Wendy Ying, DVM of Lexington, Ky., Randy Ying of Phoenix, Jasmine Ying and Cian Ying, both of Kailua; his grandson, Rocco, son of Randy and wife Nikki; his brother, Richard Ying of Seattle; sisters Liza Ying, MD and Julia Ying, MD; and many nieces and nephews and their children.
A remembrance ceremony was held in Kailua Bay on Sept. 16 and as per his wishes, a second ceremony will be held at the top of Vail Mountain this winter so he can have a never-ending powder run.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts for cancer research in memory of Charles Ying may be made to Stanford University. Gifts should be mailed to:
Office of Medical Development
Attn: Janice Flowers-Sonne
2700 Sand Hill Road
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Indicate “In memory of Charles Ying – for Dr. Joel Neal’s research” in the memo section of the check.