Chieh Huang

Chieh "Jeffrey" Huang, a retired civil engineer who was a founder of the Chinese Language School of Baltimore, died Jan. 21 of pneumonia at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. He was 78.

Mr. Huang was born in Beijing. After the Communists took over mainland China in 1950, he fled with his family to Taiwan, where he graduated from high school.


He earned his bachelor's degree in civil engineering in 1957 from National Taiwan University. In 1960, he came to the U.S. to study for a master's degree in civil engineering, which he earned in 1962 from the University of Minnesota.

Mr. Huang met his future wife, the former Shu-Ming Lai, in the Taipei visa office.

"He was thrilled to find that she was booked on the same airplane to the United States when they began their individual journeys for graduate degrees," said a daughter, Jeanne Lin of New Rochelle, N.Y.

The couple traveled across the country by Greyhound bus and before Mr. Huang got off in Minneapolis to attend the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota, he asked his future wife for her contact information.

"He quietly wooed Shu-Ming via correspondence," said Ms. Lin.

The couple were married in 1963.

Mr. Huang, who added "Jeffrey" to his name to Americanize it, according to his daughter, went to work in 1962 for the J.E. Greiner & Co., where his "passion" was designing bridges.

Several of his notable projects included working on the design of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel that opened for traffic in 1964, and the towers of the second Bay Bridge span that was completed in 1973.

Mr. Huang later joined the company's computer engineering department, which he headed until retiring in 1996.

A longtime Towson resident, Mr. Huang was a founder and first principal of the Chinese Language School of Baltimore, whose initial meetings in 1970-1971 were held in his home.

Its mission was to help the Baltimore Chinese-American community retain ties with their families overseas and build and maintain friendships here. It received accreditation from Baltimore County public schools for its programs in the 1980s.

He also was a director of the Baltimore chapter of Travelers Aid, where he assisted Chinese travelers and immigrants.

Services will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Ruck Towson Funeral Home, 1050 York Road.

In addition to his wife of 50 years and his daughter, Mr. Huang is survived by another daughter, Aileen Huang-Saad of Ann Arbor. Mich.; two brothers, Yuan Huang of Chicago and Hsi Huang of Vancouver, Canada; and five grandchildren.