NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – CBS2 is continuing our series honoring the people we’ve lost to the coronavirus pandemic.
CBS2’s Cindy Hsu looks back at the lives of a remarkable couple whose close family and professional accomplishments are a classic New York love story.
Gene Chin and Jean Lau Chin
Gene Chin was born in China in 1941. At 11 years old he was sent to the United States to help his grandfather run his hand laundry business.
Jean Lau was born in Manhattan where her family also ran a laundry. Lau attended Columbia University, earning a bachelor’s and went on for a master’s and a doctorate in psychology.
Chin worked full-time and attended night classes at Brooklyn Polytechnic, earning a degree in mechanical engineering.
The two met in 1966 through friends, with Gene Chin saying he’d finally met the love of his life.
They married two years later and had sons Scott and Stephen.
Family was everything and Chin was able to fulfill a promise he’d made years ago by bringing his mother and his brother’s family to the U.S. from China. After retiring from engineering, Chin was able to focus on photography and sculpting.
Dr. Jean Lau Chin became a powerhouse in the world of psychology and an international voice on issues including global leadership, diversity and women’s issues.
She advocated for the Asian community and loved mentoring young people, but it always came back to the family.
The couple adored their two grandsons and spending time with relatives, but nothing slowed them down from traveling the world together.
All the while, Chin at 76-years-old continued her work and in March wrote for Psychology Today about the coronavirus pandemic and xenophobia.
Weeks later the couple were in the ICU fighting COVID-19. They were able to see each other and hold hands for a short time, but both passed away days apart.
Their family says they’ll now be together forever.
A charity fund has been set up online in their honor at charitysmith.org/memorial-funds/dr-jean-lau-chin-and-gene-s-chin-memorial-fund/