Robert Kwoh-Tao Woo - In Loving Memory
August 14, 1924 - October 17, 2013
Robert Kwoh-Tao Woo was born in Beijing, China on August 14, 1924. The son of Dr. Shu-Tai and Rose Yip Woo, Bob (as he was known) was the brother to three younger sisters. He grew up in Shanghai, and completed two years at TaTung University during World War II. From 1946 to 1947, as part of the UN Relief and Rehabilitation Administration's effort in China, Bob was the warehousing supervisor for CNRRA (Central National Relief and Rehabilitation Administration), responsible for unloading heavy industrial equipment from freight ships and barges, and then warehousing and reloading it onto railcars and trucks for shipment throughout the country. As a fluent Chinese and English-speaker, he assumed responsibility for negotiating jurisdictional and labor disputes that arose between various groups involved in the warehouse and dock areas.
Bob then immigrated to the US in 1947, graduating Summa Cum Laude at Wooster Junior College in Massachusetts the following year. He went on to complete both Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. At Michigan, Bob was President of the Chinese Student Club, and an active member of the Alpha Lambda fraternity. He played intramural badminton and also worked part-time at the Ann Arbor News.
Bob met and married Sophie Lee in Ann Arbor, where they raised two children, Janice and Tom. He was a devoted family man, who spent his free time doing home improvement projects as well as regularly driving his wife and children to visit grandparents in East Lansing and out east to see his sisters and their families. He was so thrilled and grateful in 1979 when, with the help of family and friends, he was finally able to get his father to the US from the People's Republic of China after over 3 decades apart.
Upon graduation, Bob went to work for Ford Motor Company. He was dedicated to his work there, and after 36 years, he came to view Ford as almost a second family. Bob held primarily various engineering roles in the Glass Division, including Manager of Manufacturing Engineering for the Nashville (Tennessee) Glass Plant, Engineering and Development Manager, and later Quality Control Manager for the division in Dearborn, Michigan. Bob enjoyed the opportunities he had to travel on business and work cross-culturally in Mexico, Japan and Germany. A fellow Ford executive once wrote that Bob was "an example and role model of integrity, teamwork and professional and business leadership" and that he had never heard an unkind word spoken about Bob.
Bob cared deeply for his family. He also enjoyed keeping up with his dear friends. After his retirement from Ford, he and Sophie would make trips with friends within the US and even to Asia. They also supported several friends during difficult times.
He was an enthusiastic cheerleader for the University of Michigan football and basketball teams. He was an avid stamp collector and enjoyed music, especially big band and marching band, and lots of good food.
Bob is preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Ruth Li. He is survived by his wife, Sophie L. Woo, his daughter, Janice S. Woo of New York, NY, and his son, Dr. Thomas S. Woo of Indianapolis, IN. He is also survived by two sisters, Patricia Tan of North Miami, FL, and Jeannette Chao of Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ, as well as five nephews and four nieces and their respective children.
Bob's family has appreciated the support and caring of the staffs at Right-at-Home, Rosegate/American Senior Communities and Gentiva Hospice Services. Memorial contributions can be made to the
Services will be held on Monday, October 21, 2013 at the North Meridian United Methodist Church, 3808 Meridian St., Indianapolis at 4:00 p.m. Visitation will also be at the church from1 :00 p.m. -3:00 p.m. on Monday.