Allan Life

[Email to: Curriculum in Asian Studies, UNC at Chapel Hill]

As Larry Kessler announced two days ago, Candy Wei, the daughter of Jing Wang of Duke University, died last week at Ann Arbor at the age of twenty. Candy was in her sophomore year in the University of Michigan’s School of Art and Design. During her time in this program she made many friends among her fellow students, and their tributes to Candy following her death were impressive. A scholarship in Candy’s honor has been established in the School of Art and Design.

In my own family, Candy’s loss has been deeply felt. Candy and my son Justin became good friends in their art classes at Jordan High. They were brought together through their mutual passion for art, and after Candy went to Ann Arbor, and Justin enrolled in the studio art program at UNC-G, they have corresponded regularly. During their holidays they saw each other frequently, giving each other examples of their art work and sharing their hopes for the future. Candy, who was an active editor and contributor to student publications at Jordan High and Ann Arbor, dreamed of becoming the art director of a magazine. That this ambition was unrealized is a loss to us all. I have never encountered anyone with more enthusiasm for the talent of others, or a greater power to inspire others in their artistic ambitions. In stressing this fact, I am not neglecting her own talent, which was conspicuous in literature as well as in visual art. But she has left with her contemporaries the kind of memories that not only endure but flourish. This makes a memorial service in her honor especially appropriate.

[excerpts of a letter to Jing Wang, 3-22-01]

The memorial website preserves and shares a great deal of what everyone present had experienced at the memorial service [at Duke] in January. Though we felt it would be an intrusion to write immediately after this occasion, or indeed during the last several weeks, I now can tell you how impressed we were by this service, which brought together several friends of mine from your Department (in Bruce’s case, in an unexpected role) and a Buddhist monk whom Justin (Life) had come to know at UNC-Greenboro. Add to this is the fact that I grew up in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in Toronto, and you see why this occasion was for me, as for so many others, a focal experience, testifying to the breadth of Candy’s sympathy and understanding. In its externals, the evening walk I took after the service resembled hundreds of previous walks around my own neighborhood, but never have I beheld those surroundings in an afterglow so pervasive, beneath a young moon of such brilliance. Near the horn of that moon, a single star was radiant. I record these impressions, not to deny the pain we felt and feel at your loss, but in testimony to the intensity of the memorial tribute in January.