David James Schendan

September 1933
September 2022


David James Schendan was born in Fuzhou, China, on 19 September 1933-the second of 7 children. Sino-Japanese war drove his family to Amoy, Hong Kong & Shanghai then the Chinese revolution drove them to Taiwan & Manila PH. David’s personality was also shaped by asthma from childhood (preventing him from studying medicine) & by a large Christian family led by his grandfather, Dr Chen Tien En, who achieved in medicine, education & business & had 17 children. David fought humbly to do what he imagined. Inspired by his dad’s paper mill, he studied Chemistry at Far Eastern University Institute of Technology, sociology at University of Tennessee & graduated from Bob Jones University (BS Chemistry, minor Mathematics 1958) & Syracuse University (MSc Chemical Engineering 1961) then began a PhD in Material Sciences, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He did chemistry & inventing professionally & personally & was always grateful for family support. David worked enthusiastically for Dixie Cup, Regel Paper Company & General Electric where he invented dielectric & mechanical strength paper methods (German patent #1,800,002) & won an award & conference talk. Then he & his family ran an import business, Crafts International (& Boutique; Blue Hen Mall, Dover DE, Rehoboth Beach & Salisbury). Then he did chemistry for 3M, earning research & development awards, Fluid Dynamics & others. David ran the E-Z Frames business with his family, having invented dovetail joint methods (US patent #4,695,488; Kee Systems), especially for picture frames, for which he was invited to audition for Shark Tank in his 80s. After retiring, he remained active with the American Association of Retired Persons, Toastmasters & nature charities. David & Edna raised 2 children, Haline & Albert, who were welcomed with joy & pride. He loved sharing enthusiasms (e.g., biking, tennis) with them, especially cars with Al & psychological reflections with Haline. He relocated for better schools & work. He said his children made everything worth it. Later, David partnered with Idis & was happiest traveling together in a camper van to enjoy nature. He loved American life on both coasts, especially California & the Midwest. David was appreciated for being kind, genuine, sensitive, soft-spoken, intelligent, humorous, curious, creative, philosophical & independent-minded. David sang, played piano, & loved art & classical music, giving gifts, international food, cooking, nature & animals, especially pandas & sea otters. David loved learning languages, speaking 5 Chinese dialects & English. David was idealistic, open-minded, forgiving & delightedly chatted with people, reflecting on their lives & sharing his wide-ranging knowledge & enthusiasm for his creative ideas & life. David communicated warmly without judgment, occasionally offering his experience & guidance. He was always curious. David’s passion was inventing. David died 7:55 September 29, 2022, age 89, Walnut Creek, CA, with children & partner nearby.

Friends & Family

David (Chen Hong Chun) is survived by his children, Haline & Albert Schendan, & partner, Idis Roberts Del Portillo. He is also survived by a large extended family, especially brothers, Robert Yin, & Victor, Donald & Raymond Dan & nieces (Claramae, Cathy, Kimberly, Stephanie) & nephews (Bernard, Dimitri, Michael, Adrian); he was predeceased by father Robert & mother Violet, sisters (May & Sun Yi) & Edna. David desired to donate his body to science, & we are grateful to Science Care. Family & friends have expressed their sadness at the loss of this kind, genuine, sensitive, introverted & soft-spoken with warmth & gentleness, intelligent, humorous, curious, creative, philosophical & independent-minded human being. We loved David very much.

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