A beloved member of our Vancouver community, Dr. Madeline Huang Chung, passed away in her sleep on August 29, 2021, at the age of 96. She was the wife and best friend of Dr Wallace B. Chung, one of PCHC-MoM’s honorary patrons. The Chung couple have given generously of their time, talent and treasures to our community in many ways, including The Chung Collection of historical artifacts and documents at the UBC Library, The W.B. and M.H. Chung Maritime History Collection at the Vancouver Maritime Museum, and Madeline’s co-founding of the Chinese language True Light School.
Madeline Chung was born in Shanghai to a government official, but her family suffered hard times during war years. She spent WWII as a teenage refugee in the countryside outside Hong Kong, after it fell to the Japanese army. She searched for food and shelter for her injured mother and younger sisters. Her experiences and Christian faith motivated her to help those in need whenever she could.
Madeline Chung graduated from Yale in China in 1948 and came to Canada to complete her studies shortly after Canada repealed the China Immigration Act in 1947. Madeline overcame professional and societal discrimination, to become the first woman and first Chinese Canadian to become an obstetrician—gynaecologist in BC, to build her own medical practice despite being denied a bank loan, and to gain admitting privileges at Vancouver General Hospital. She delivered 7226 “Chung Babies” from 1956 to 1999. Although denied a faculty appointment at first, Madeline became a clinical teacher popular with medical students and residents.She retired as an Emeritus Professor after a new Head recognized the injustice of her having been denied promotion for most of her career.
Madeline enjoyed helping people and never sought recognition for her service. However, her professional dedication and extensive volunteering were recognized by an Honorary Life Membership in the Canadian Medical Association in 1993, and by a Civic Merit Award in 2013 from the City of Vancouver.
Post retirement, Madeline most enjoyed being a “Gumma” to her 5 grandchildren and friends, travelling extensively with Wally, gardening, and continuing her volunteer work with Education Medical Aid Service (EMAS) of Canada, the Chinese United Church, and other organizations.
PCHC-MoM Society extends our sincerest condolences and appreciation for Madeline’s life of giving, to our patron Dr. Wally Chung, his granddaughters Eleanor (former PCHC-MoM intern) and Sophie Munk (PCHC-MoM Coordinator) and his extended family.
To find out more about this extraordinary woman (and the couple), follow the links below to a 2009 audio interview of Dr. Madeline Chung (and Dr. Wally Chung), for the Chinese Canadian Women’s project of the Multicultural History Society of Ontario, and to articles about Madeline as well to a recording of her memorial service. Thanks to the Chung family for sharing this resource and Madeline Chung’s obituary, from which this tribute was adapted.
Here are links to Vancouver Sun and Province articles about Dr Madeline Chung:
Recording of Madeline Chung’s memorial service on September 4, 2021: