Clara Yuen Ching, Ph.D.
Clara Yuen Ching, Ph.D.Clara Yuen Ching, Ph.D., 92 passed away on March 22, 2022. Born and raised in Honolulu, Clara graduated from Sacred Hearts Academy in 1947, received a B.S. in Medical Microbiology from UH Manoa in 1951 and M.S. from the University of Wisconsin. She brought her microbiology expertise back to Honolulu and worked at the Queen's Medical Center where she set up a virology lab and isolated polio virus during a military outbreak in 1956. After obtaining her Ph.D. in Virology from UCLA in 1964, Clara returned to Honolulu in 1969, where she became a faculty member in the Department of Tropical Medicine and Microbiology at UH and set up the Tissue Culture Laboratory at Leahi Hospital.

After marrying the love of her life, Dr. Nathaniel Ching, they moved to New York where Clara worked at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Her life's research started with studying the immunobiology of herpesvirus and Natural Killer cells which she continued in Honolulu. After a role as Associate Researcher at the Cancer Center of Hawaii, she established and was the Director of Immunobiology Research for the Hawaii-Interferon Biological Response Modifiers Research laboratory at St. Francis Medical Center. She performed research in collaboration with her husband, a general and thoracic surgeon.

Clara was highly regarded for her intelligence, curiosity, and vision as a scientific researcher. Her career was dedicated to clinical research and the promotion of scientific research in Hawaii with the organization of the International Biosciences Symposium in 1985. Clara strove to improve the health of the people in Hawaii through her NIH grant to study natural immunity in families with breast cancer, realizing that Native Hawaiians had a high incidence of breast and lung cancer. During her biomedical research career, Clara provided mentorship opportunities for high school students and undergraduates to work in her lab and learn about scientific research. She was proud to see former students succeed as the next generation of physicians and scientists.

In addition to her biomedical research, Clara was well regarded for her community involvement and leadership. As an active member of the Associated Chinese University Women (ACUW) Scholarship Committee, she encouraged the support of students in the Hawaii State Science and Engineering Fair. In 1992, Clara served as president with the theme of "Challenging our Lifestyle for a Healthier 21st Century". In 2006, ACUW honored her professional and community contributions with the Distinguished Women Award at the society's 75th Anniversary. In other pursuits, Clara was an active member of Hawaii Parliamentarians, serving as President from 1998-2001, served as Commissioner for her Neighborhood board and participated in various community events in Manoa Valley.

Clara enjoyed entertaining family and friends and was an avid collector of Chinese antiques and spoons from her travels. Together with her husband, she enjoyed making their delicious homemade mango sorbet. Most importantly, Clara will always be remembered for her love and support of her family, who will miss her very much.

Clara is predeceased by her husband Dr. Nathaniel Ching and parents Jack Tim Yuen and Kam Nee Fong Yuen. She is survived by her daughter, Dr. Natascha Ching, son-in-law Joseph Del Rosario and grandson Jonah Del Rosario. Clara is survived by her sisters Betsy Lum (Bill), Marion Yuen, Brother Riley Yuen (Dolores), and predeceased by sisters Lois Lee (Francis) and Jennie Tyau (Reuben). She was a beloved aunty and great aunty to many nieces and nephews. A celebration of life was held privately with family.

In lieu of flowers, donations to honor her life may be made to the Nathaniel Pau Hen Ching, MD and Clara Yuen Ching, PhD Memorial Fund #129-8530-4. UH Foundation, John A. Burns School of Medicine, P.O. Box 11270, Honolulu, Hawaii 96828.

Arrangements Provided By: Diamond Head Mortuary

Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased