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Elliot Chung: Medical technologist, father, artist, sports fan

Medical technologist, father, artist, sports fan

Elliott Chung, a longtime Claremont resident, died on August 29, 2014 in Claremont. He was 81.

Elliott Chung was born on July 2, 1933 in Seoul, Korea, the first child of Reverend Robert Chung and Kyong Sook Chung. He spent his childhood in Seoul with his brother Paul, sister Ruth and youngest brother Larry.

Growing up, Elliott always had a big heart and was surrounded by lots of friends. “Elliott was my big, strong brother,” Larry shared in a tribute. “He played rugby in high school. He would race his two German Shepherds up the mountain and back down, and Elliott always came in first place. I always felt safe with Elliott around.” 

In 1950, Elliot’s father, Rev. Chung, brought his family to the United States to escape the Korean War and start a new life in America. The family first settled in California. Elliot attended college at University of Kentucky and graduated in 1955 with a degree in biology. From 1955-1957, he served in the United States Army. He then moved to Chicago, Illinois to begin work in the Catholic Hospital chemistry department. In 1960, Mr. Chung entered medical technology training in Jacksonville, Florida.

While in Jacksonville, he met his future wife, Marion. They were married April 8, 1961 in West Palm Beach, Florida. They made their home in Florida until April 1962, when Mr. Chung took a position at the Pomona Valley Medical Center laboratory.

The Chungs’ first child, Chris, was born in 1963 and their second child, Shirley, arrived in 1968. Elliott and Marion settled in Claremont in 1965 to raise their family and have remained in Claremont since then. 

While working and raising a family, Mr. Chung furthered his education, returning to school 1975 to 1978 at Cal State Dominguez Hills and earning a master’s degree in laboratory management. He continued his dedicated work and service to Pomona Valley Medical Center for 38 years, retiring in July 2000. His longtime friend and colleague, Elaine Kruse, shared that Mr. Chung was always ahead of his time, implementing laboratory techniques long before they became standard. “He wrote protocols that we followed for years,” she said. “He was always precise and meticulous in his work and Elliott was greatly missed when he retired.”

His favorite hobbies included playing piano—he could play piano by ear—oil painting and maintaining his garden. Many of Elliott’s paintings decorate his home and the homes of friends and family. He was quite a dancer and enjoyed ballroom dancing with his wife. He was a member of the Church of the Nazarene in Pomona and the Methodist Church in La Verne. He enjoyed watching college football and NBA basketball; his favorite teams included UCLA and the Lakers. Most of all, he enjoyed spending time with his family, especially his two granddaughters, Jordan and Chiara. In April 2011, Elliott and Marion celebrated their 50-year wedding anniversary in Napa, California with their children and grandchildren.

Mr. Chung is survived by his wife Marion, his son Chris of Santa Clara, his daughter Shirley and her husband David Shen of Los Alamitos and by his two granddaughters, Jordan and Chiara. He also leaves his siblings, Ruth of Claremont, Larry and his family of Del Mar, California and Paul and his family of Arlington Heights, Illinois. Services were held at Forest Lawn, Covina on September 5, 2014.

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