"Philip" Bok Yin Tong

Obituary of "Philip" Bok Yin Tong

Philip Bok Yin Tong, 89, of London, Ontario, passed away peacefully at home on July 24, 2023, with his wife, Betty, and children, John, Samuel and Deborah all by his side. 

Bok Yin was born in 1934 in Shanghai, and as a child, his family had to dodge the war before finally settling in Hong Kong. Throughout this time he proudly cared for and mentored his three younger brothers. His studies took him from Hong Kong to Berkeley and San Diego. At each stage of his post-secondary studies, Bok Yin was ready to settle down and teach, but was awarded scholarships, fellowships and other opportunities along the way to allow him to complete his BSc (HKU), M.Librarian Sciences (UC Berkeley), MA Physics (UC Berkeley), and PhD Physics (UC San Diego). During his year and a half at UC San Diego working on his PhD thesis, he performed the first computational applications of the foundational ‘Kohn-Sham equation’. Countless other applications were built upon this pivotal computational method and ultimately allowed Philip’s mentor, Dr. Walter Kohn, to be awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Following his studies, Philip settled in London, Ontario as a Physics professor at the University of Western Ontario, and soon after, married his love, Betty, and started their family. In London, Bok Yin was a pillar of the University, Chinese Canadian, and art communities. He helped organize and grow these communities through leadership, fundraising (including grant proposals), and with the passionate presentation of lessons in various fields including: science and the environment; Chinese culture, history and philosophy; arts and crafts; Chinese watercolours and calligraphy. 

Bok Yin will be dearly missed by his wife Betty; his children John (Irene), Samuel (Evelina) and Deborah (Damon); grandson Benjamin; his brother David, sisters in-law, nieces and nephews; and his many friends and colleagues.

The family would like to thank all medical professionals, support workers and palliative care team who have cared for and provided comfort to him over the years.

Please join us in a Celebration of Life gathering in the Garden Room of the Ivey Spencer Leadership Center on August 31st from 4:30 to 7:30pm. Please contact debtong@hotmail.com for more details.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the CCNC London chapter londonccnc.com or the London Health Sciences Foundation lhsf.ca.

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"Philip" Bok Yin