Hui Wang ’08

‘Uniquely humorous’ Eliot junior remembered for optimism and candor

Hui Wang ’08, an avid hiker, biochemical sciences concentrator, and resident of Eliot House, died in a car crash in New York’s Catskill Mountains on Oct. 7, 2006.

Wang, 22, of Guangzhou, China, was a member of the Outing Club and the Harvard Table Tennis Club, and a longtime volunteer with PBHA’s Chinatown ESL program.

Wang’s friends were left reeling from the loss of a student they described in glowing terms as a genial and compassionate person.

“I found him to be one of the most sincere and candid people I’ve known,” Yiming Wang ’08, Hui’s sophomore year roommate, wrote in an e-mail.

“I’ve thought of him somewhat as an older brother, as he was several years older, and he always gave me advice about academics and about life. I will miss him greatly,” wrote Yiming Wang, who is not related to Hui.

“Hui always enjoyed intellectual conversations,” said Slobodan Radoman ’07, who went to high school at Atlantic College in Wales with Wang. “He was a hard-working guy, but would do things because he liked them, not so that they could go on a resume.”

Dongbo Yu ’07 said that his friend was heading to New York in October on a hiking trip. Yu described Wang as “warm, kind, patient, frank, uniquely humorous, and extremely personable.”

“He deals with difficulties in life with remarkable optimism and poise, and almost always with smile and success,” Yu wrote.

Jin Zhou ’07 wrote in an e-mail that Wang “offers help wherever he can to whoever in need even though he doesn’t know that person well.”

Wang was one of three killed in a two-car crash near Olive, N.Y., according to the New York State Police. He was riding in a westbound Mazda, driven by a friend, when it swerved into the eastbound lane of Route 28. The Mazda then collided head-on with another car, driven by Catherine Whitelaw, 67, of Lanesville, N.Y., according to police.

Two passengers in the Mazda died immediately, and the other three were airlifted to area hospitals. One passenger died at Columbia Memorial Hospital in Hudson, N.Y.

Along with Wang, New York City residents Yuan Li, 26, and his girlfriend, Zhenying Gu, 26, died in the accident, which occurred at 1:20 p.m. The driver, Yanming Fang, 28, and another passenger, Harvard alum Wentao Mo ’05, 25, both of New York City, were taken to Albany Medical Center and St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie, according to a statement from the State Police.

The local newspaper, the Kingston Daily Freeman, quoted State Police Captain Patrick Regan as saying there was “absolutely no indication of drugs or alcohol.”

In the wake of his death, Wang’s friends began to raise money to bring his parents to his funeral and memorial service; when Harvard covered their transportation costs, they continued raising money as a sign of solidarity for his family.

One anonymous donation was labeled “For Hui, a Great Human Being,” with five $100 bills enclosed.

Wang’s friend Rui Tang ’07 wrote in The Crimson several days later: “I have met so many people in my life, but only few stand out in my memory. Hui was one of them. He was intelligent, thoughtful, entertaining, and humble.”