Samuel Pao San Ho
Samuel Pao San Ho died peacefully in Vancouver on July 20, 2016, with both his daughters by his side.
Born in Tianjin on November 19, 1936, Sam spent his childhood in China amidst the turmoil of civil and global war. In 1949, his family fled China to settle in the United States, living at various times in New Haven and New York City. From 1950 to 1955, Sam was fortunate to attend Oakwood Friends School in Poughkeepsie, New York, an experience he remembered with fondness and gratitude until the end of this life. He went on to study electrical engineering at Princeton University, graduating in 1959, but then changed academic focus and in 1965 completed a PhD in economics at Yale University. After receiving his doctorate, Sam taught at Yale and joined the university’s Economic Growth Center. The Center sponsored a year of research in Taiwan, where Sam met Sharon Shai Rong Tang; the two married in April 1966 after a whirlwind courtship. In 1970, Sam became a professor in the Department of Economics at the University of British Columbia. While they moved to Vancouver sight unseen, Sam and Sharon found it a wonderful place to raise their family and lived there the rest of their lives. Sam enjoyed a rewarding and productive career at UBC. He served as head of the Department of Economics from 1985 to 1989 and as director of the Centre for Chinese Research from 1996 to 1999. Sam’s field was Development Economics and, after China became accessible to scholars in the early 1980s, his research focused almost exclusively on the Chinese economy. For about twenty years, he did annual field work in China, often staying for long periods in the countryside.
Sam and Sharon had a passion for world travel and together visited an astonishing array of destinations including Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Nepal, Peru, Russia, Thailand, Tibet, and Turkey. After the painful loss of his wife to brain cancer in 2008, Sam rallied, nurturing Sharon’s remarkable garden, spending time with his family, forging new friendships, and continuing to travel adventurously. Throughout his life, Sam inspired many people with his good humor, equanimity, wisdom, and warmth. He retained these qualities throughout his brief illness and continued to make good memories with his loved ones until the very end. Reflecting on his life during his final weeks, he felt complete and amazed at his good fortune.
A beloved husband, father, brother, and uncle, Sam is survived by his daughters Samantha Ho Kriegel and Melissa Ho; his sons-in-law Jonathan Kriegel and Alexander Williams; his grandchildren, Mia Kriegel, Talia Kriegel, and Marcel Ho; his sister Pauline Ho Bynum and sister-in-law Nancy Ho (widow of his brother Robert Ho); and his nieces and nephews Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Taylor Ho Bynum, Jonathan Ho and Michael Ho and their families.
At Sam’s request, his ashes will be interred at Riverside Church in New York City, alongside those of his parents Shwen Dji Yu and Franklin Lien Ho and his wife Sharon. A celebration of Samuel’s life will be held in Vancouver in summer 2017; please contact the family for additional information. If friends would like to make a donation in Sam’s memory, the family ask them to consider the Vancouver Hospice Society (http://www.vancouverhospice.org/donate.htm) or Doctors Without Borders (http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/support-us).