In Memory of Professor Yan-shuan Lao


Professor Yan-shuan Lao died after a protracted battle with cancer at home in Laguna Hills, California on March 24, 2016 at the age of 82.



Yan-shuan Lao was born on January 14, 1934 in Beijing, China to Kan Lao and Yen-pu Chou. His father Professor Kan Lao was conducting research at the Institute of History and Philology (IHP) at Academia Sinica, the nation’s premier research institution. The family moved with the Institute to Lizhuang in 1940 due to the Japanese invasion, briefly to Nanjing after the war, and then again to Taipei, Taiwan in 1948 as the Communists took over Mainland China.

In Taipei, Yan-shuan attended National Taiwan University, and after graduation in 1955 and a year of service in Taiwan’s ROTC, he attended Harvard University in Cambridge on a post-graduate scholarship. He earned his Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Literature there in 1962. He began his career as a professor at University of Washington in Seattle, where he met and married Niann Ing Chang, a recent Masters graduate from UW in Library Science. After welcoming their two children Norman and Cindy, the Laos moved to Columbus, Ohio, where Yan-shuan continued his career at the Ohio State University. He taught and researched Chinese literature and history at OSU, with a special focus on the Yuan Dynasty, until his retirement in 1998. He was delighted to spend his retirement in Irvine, California, close to both children and all his grandchildren.

Yan-shuan is remembered as a brilliant scholar with an astonishing command of facts, steadfast in his Confucian values and passionate about politics; a man of many interests, including photography, electronics, music, and literature; and above all, a devoted and loving son, sibling, husband, father, uncle, and grandfather. Emotional, sensitive, and proud to the core, he stoically and courageously fought his disease with every ounce of his being.

He is survived by his wife Niann Ing Lao, son Norman Lao, daughter Cindy Gitter, son-in-law David Gitter, daughter-in-law Candace Lao, grandsons Luke and Nicolas Gitter, granddaughters Krista and Kara Lao, brother Yan Jeong Lao, sister Annel Tsang, nieces and nephews, in-laws, loyal students and friends.

Donation in memory of Prof. Lao: American Cancer Society


Photo Slideshow - Celebration of Prof. Lao's Life

Photo Album

Video - Celebration of Prof. Lao's Life

Some of Prof. Lao's Poetic Works


Norman's Remembrance

Cindy's Tribute

David's Tribute

Ba Extra Words by Cindy

Nic's Tribute


Prof. Yu Ying-shih's Tribute

The Yangs' Tribute

Polly's Tribute

Tang's Poem


In Loving Memory of Prof. Lao by Margie Chan

In Loving Memory of Prof. Lao by Kirk Denton

In Loving Memory of Prof. Lao by Charlie Quinn

In Loving Memory of Prof. Lao by Galal Walker


In Loving Memory of Prof. Lao by Former Students