A photo of William W. “Bill” Chan

William W. “Bill” Chan

October 8, 1943 - November 4, 2019

William W. “Bill” Chan, age 76, of Newark, DE, passed away on Monday, November 4, 2019, at Manor Care, following a brief illness.

Born in Hong Kong on October 8, 1943, Bill was a son of the late Dak To and Yun Ho (Tsun) Chan.  After coming to the US to attend college at the University of California, Berkeley, he received a Master’s degree in architecture from Washington University in St. Louis.  He moved to the Washington, D.C. area in the late 1960s and spent the next several decades pursuing his passion as a practicing architect and member of the American Institute of Architects.  Over the years, he designed many buildings, including the Qomolangma Nature Preserve Center in Tibet, Blakehurst retirement community in Towson, MD, and the Baltimore Maritime Center.     He spent many years with his wife and son in a home he designed himself in Towson.  In 2002 he taught as an Assistant Professor of Architecture at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD, retiring in 2014.  He loved his students and enjoyed seeing their talents blossom.

In more recent years Bill began developing educational software to teach students about the relationship of great buildings and artwork to different historical eras.  This multimedia platform, TimeReach, gave him the chance to work closely with good friends and to share his love of architecture with the wider world.

In his spare time, he enjoyed Chinese water color painting and drawing, as well as watching movies.  He had the talent for summing up the latter with a biting comment, and could have had a thriving second career as a movie critic.

More than anything Bill loved his family and especially his grandchildren.  He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Monica H. Chan; son, Wesley S. Chan; daughter-in-law Theresa H. Chan; 2 brothers; 5 sisters; and grandchildren, Christian A. Chan and Natalie E. Chan.

A memorial service will be held at 2 pm on Sunday, November, 10, 2019, at Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home, 121 West Park Place, Newark, DE.  Interment will be held privately.

In lieu of flowers, contributions maybe made in Bill’s memory to the Salvation Army, P.O. Box 308, Wilmington, DE 19899.

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23 Guestbook messages for William W. “Bill” Chan

  • I am so very sorry to hear of Bill’s passing. He and I worked together for a number of years at Meyers & D’Aleo and earlier at MASS, Inc. He was a very good designer and he took his work seriously. He was also a teacher whose students remember him fondly. My heartfelt condolences go out to Monica and his family and may he rest in peace.

  • Bill was a good friend and a mentor to me. His passion in Architecture was very inspiring, and his willingness to teach and the patience he showed would be deeply missed. I enjoyed being around Bill very much, and his voice and laughter will be something I treasure in my memory. My deepest condolences to Monica and family.

  • Professor Chan was one of my Professors at Morgan State University. I learned so much from him and I will miss him. He was a treasure.

  • Great man, great in architecture teaching and mentoring in Morgan State University. May his soul rest in perfect peace. Amen.

  • My sincerest condolences on Bill’s death. He was a wonderful man and I enjoyed talking to him and Monica.

  • My condolences to the Chan Family for your loss. I worked with Bill at the School of Architecture and Planning at Morgan State University since 2003. I really enjoyed my conversations with him. He was a wealth of knowledge and he will be missed. Rest in Peace.

  • It is with profound sadness l learn of Billy sad news. We were best friends together at UC Berkeley where we worked together for many nights together. We kept in close touch while he was in Baltimore and l was in New York. Bill is an intellectual and devoted to architecture. My condolences to Monica and family.

  • May the memories of Bill’s inspiring life bring you comfort as time helps to heal you of this loss.

  • Bill was a great teacher and even better friend. As a student of his at Morgan, I benefitted greatly from his wisdom and guidance, I also alternately felt the sting and the humor of his critical sensibility. I now miss his clear understanding of architecture and his patience in passing it on and teaching. My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.

  • I worked with Bill when he was at Meyers & D’Aleo. Amazing architect and creative designer. And I’m certain a fabulous teacher. He will be missed- no doubt.
    Xoxo
    Pauline Harris

  • I was a student of Professor Chan’s for a few years from 2011-14. Not only was he a walking encyclopedia of architectural history, but he exuded architecture through his lectures and impromptu conversations in the hallways. His passion for learning was infectious. He was a true architect…a visionary. When he talked about his illustrative career, you could look around at the Morgan State students and see their eyes wide open while they learned from a local legend. His hand graphics and drawings had a huge impact on me as I was a student learning ways to communicate effectively. As Bill was undeniably an admirer of great architects like IM Pei, I hope Professor Chan knew that his work and teachings had a sincere influence on countless designers within Baltimore, including me. Along with my time at Morgan State, Professor Chan will always hold a special place in my heart. All the best to the Chan family and the MSU community.
    -Tim Reinen, ‘14

  • It was with shock and a profound sense of loss when I heard about our loss of Bill. He was so vibrant and alive that it’s hard to imagine he could lose his health so fast. I will miss our conversations–even when I didn’t understand the ones regarding architecture and Chinese movies. Bill was a natural teacher and an intellectual. He was always learning something new. I hope his TimeReach project will be brought to fruition by his colleagues. Monica, Wesley and the family have my deepest sympathies and prayers.

  • My condolences to the Chan Family. I was a student of Bill Chan’s from 2007 – 2010, and continued to keep in touch after I moved to California. Bill’s passion for architecture and never ending quest for knowledge made a huge impact on me and how I strive to live life. He was a great mentor in all aspects of life. I am deeply saddened by his passing, and will miss him dearly.

  • What a loss. We worked together one summer in the early 70’s on the Inner Harbor highway project in Baltimore. The best thing about that job – interesting as it was – was getting to know Bill. His wide range of interests and especially architecture made us fast friends even as we settled into work in different cities.

    We had children at about the same time and I saw Bill often when Wesley was at school in Cambridge and then working here. We covered a lot of ground on walks through the city, sometimes focused on our work, or Boston’s architecture, our families, and then TimeReach – usually ending up at the East Ocean City in Chinatown a couple of blocks from my office for Bill’s favorite foods. Bill has been a great correspondent, connecting me to his community of TimeReach mates by email and phone. Always with that swell of conversation and humor about architecture, architectural education, history, art, the random current events shows – and especially our families and always our grand children – that I see reflected in the stories posted in the guest book.

    We won’t be able to get to Newark for the service and I am sorry to miss shaking hands with each of you to hear your memories of Bill and sharing our common grief, and to do what I can’t ever do again – pick up the phone and carry on our conversation right where it ended.

    St. John

  • Bill was a very enthusiastic and giving professor. Early on, he helped me progress with 3D skills I didn’t know I had. Even after graduation, he kept in touch by sharing his thoughts on architecture, his Time Reach project, and my and my classmates architectural careers. It was nice to receive this correspondence from someone who genuinely wanted us to succeed. We had further conversations about my moving my career to his hometown in Hong Kong, and my work in China, it was special for him to hear how things changed since his time there. I will miss his support and friendship.

  • I first met Bill Chan eight years ago. He was a leader of activity to put on the biennial national conference here in Baltimore in November 2011 for the Society for American City and Regional Planning History (with the long acronym: SACRPH).

    Bill’s enthusiasm and drive was infectious, and through it he was able to enlist the assistance and participation of a number of us who had been involved forty or more years earlier in both the planning and opposition to a massive east-west expressway slated to go across Baltimore City to link up three US Interstate highways (Routes 95, 70 and 83).

    The conference was held at the Tremont Hotel in near the Mount Vernon section of downtown Baltimore. Our roundtable was Session 29 – beginning at 8:15 AM on November 19 and was entitled: “Baltimore Highway Planning and its Effect on Planning Baltimore.”

    Bill also was excited about the work he was doing on TimeReach, his multimedia platform, and he shared it with me and many others. He used it to teach us all how great buildings and art were related to different times in history.

    Bill and his wife Monica continued to stay in contact through decorative and imaginative cards sent annually around the holidays.

    Bill made many contributions to the world of architecture and planning, including his years as a teacher at Morgan and other universities. I will miss him.

  • Monica and family,
    My sincerest condolences on your loss. I have missed seeing and talking to Bill in the nice weather. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Bless you all.

  • It took me several days to figure out the words to put together. He was the first professor I had in Grad School. He was my first Studio professor. And up until i finally graduated, he stood by me, championed for me, and believed in me when most of the faculty did not. His words to me were, “you will be one of the greats, don’t give up.” When the “system” in school politics worked against me, he defended me.

    I owe him for my rewarding career, and many of his anecdotes and wise oneliners I’ve ended up taking with me forward. This is a pretty hard loss, and I’ve had a few.

    Professor Chan, you will be missed greatly.

  • We are very sad to hear of Uncle Bill’s passing – he was such a scholarly yet humble man who spent his time well with everyone he encountered, no matter how old or young. He painted beautiful chinese art, and he even painted one for me for my wedding. My fondest memory of him was when he taught me how to play the Trump card game when I was young – he was so patient and made it so fun. Uncle Bill we will miss you! May you rest in the peace of Christ.

  • Bill was my colleague, and friend, at Morgan State University where he taught until his retirement in 2014. An inspirational professor, his infectious passion for architecture, design and history shaped the thinking and outlook of a generation of students and practitioners. Deeply generous and full of encouragement, he shaped the architectural thinking and philosophical outlook of many of our students. His breathtaking scholarship was vast and profound, and it spanned the domains of design, history, technology, practice, art and culture. He brought his abilities to bear on the success of his students through his rare dedication to his students learning. It was common to see Bill’s first year design studio continue an hour past it’s scheduled finish time, sometimes ending at midnight. His efforts paid off handsomely as his students work was repeatedly published in architectural textbooks- a measure of the academic recognition of his teaching success.

    Prior to teaching, Bill had a stellar career as an architect and he was held in the highest regard by the architectural community of Baltimore. His architectural talent and his consummate professionalism made for a rewarding practice at various firms. In addition to his professionalism, he was a man of principles and would stand up for what he believed was right. He would provide mentorship and encouragement to people who were beginning their careers and would speak up for junior staff when he felt they were mistreated. Rank and privilege could not stand in the way of Bill’s ire when he saw unfairness around him.

    Bill was gentle, kind and warm hearted towards all. He would treat all his students with immense respect and treated them as equals. He never spoke a harsh word to anyone, regardless of how trying his professional circumstances would become. His graciousness and kindness set an example for many, and will manifest themselves in the lives of those he touched.

    Bill loved all that life had to offer and had an innate curiosity about the world around him and would engage it at all levels. His research project, TimeReach, provided a glimpse into his ability of make connections spanning space and time. A voracious reader, he had an impressive library that he generously shared with his colleagues and students. The studio library at the architectural studios in Montebello was really his collection of books and magazines that he would cart from his home office.

    Bill always had something to say about the world around him, be it at the Panera Bread at Towson or through his legendary emails where he would inform, review and critique everything in universe. It was a pleasure to get emails on articles in the Economist (a favorite of Bill’s), his handpainted Christmas greetings, an recording of an interview, a book review. Bill was truly a Renaissance man.

    And true to the typology of a Rennaisance Man, Bill loved all forms of Art. He was also an accomplished artist, and I am lucky to have seen some of his works. And he loved movies!
    I experienced Bill’s love for movies when he took me to see Godzilla- one of his favorite movies which he had seen in all its iterations along the years. There was a child like wonder in his face as we watched the movie and he enjoyed the opening sequence so much that we snuck back to the theater like kids to watch the opening all over again!

    Like his students, and all those he met, I am lucky to have known Bill and I will cherish the years we spent together.

  • Bill Chan was my trusted neighbor, my enthusiastic co-worker as a professor at Morgan State University and my very dear friend and brother. I first met Bill when my family and I moved to Jacobo Lane in Towson. Bill and Monica were the first to welcome us to Fellowship Forest and almost instantly we became great friends. We took morning walks together and frequent the local Panera Bread restaurant afterwards. A few years later Bill joined the faculty in the School of Architecture and Planning at Morgan and this brought us even closer as our offices were in the same building. Bill was the consummate professor and educational leader. He ‘lived and breathed architecture and planning’. His knowledge, passion and enthusiasm for teaching was clearly evident to anyone who was privileged to become acquainted with Bill. Although I am Biologist, Bill soon made an amateur architecture enthusiast by his many impromptu lectures, discussions and video presentations especially during the early development of his TimeReach® project. As a result I became aware of great architects like I.M. Pei, Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry to name a few. Bill was a very hardworking, generous, loving and empathetic individual. My family and I will always miss him. My wife Adelaide and my daughters join me in extending our heartfelt condolences to Monica, Wesley and family. May his soul rest in perfect peace for all eternity.

  • Uncle Bill will always be remembered as a kind, gentle and intellectual person. I often saw Uncle Bill when he would come to Toronto to visit his mom. He was a loving son, husband, dad and grandfather. He spoke passionately about architecture and things he enjoyed. Even when I had conversations with him he would ask questions about myself with interest.

    Uncle Bill we will miss you – rest in peace . Sending Aunty Monica, Wesley and family our prayers and thoughts.

    Trudy and family

  • Bill,

    I never told you, but you’re one whom I looked up to, respected and felt very proud of. You’ll always be remembered as my smartest, kindest, purest, most humble and loving brother anyone could ever had. Even though we had great academic disparities, you always encouraged and believed in me and for that I’m forever grateful. For a man of such good character and faith in Christ, I can envision you’re rejoicing in Jesus’s embrace, in reunion with mom and dad.

    Love always,
    Mary