Early HP engineer Art Fong dies

Memorial service to be held June 6 for Palo Alto resident whose contributions spurred industry

Arthur Fong, whose work in engineering helped grow a fledgling Hewlett-Packard Company into the world's largest technology company, died May 17 in Palo Alto. He was 92.

Fong's engineering achievements include collaboration on the development of RADAR in the MIT Radiation Laboratory, impedance-measuring instruments, a line of signal generators, and the first calibrated microwave spectrum analyzer.

He was born a grocer's son in Sacramento on Feb. 11, 1920, but he decided to forego running the family business and instead went to school at UCLA and then Berkeley, where he graduated with a degree in electrical engineering in 1943. That same year, he married Mary, who was to be his wife for 69 years and with whom he had four children.

In 1946, Fong was recruited by William Hewlett to join Hewlett-Packard, which was then a company of only about 100 people.

In the 1960s, Fong's designs accounted for 27 percent, roughly $55 million, of HP's revenue.

During his time working at the company he also earned a master's degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1968 and awards and recognitions from HP, the Cal Engineering Alumni Society and the Institute of Electrical Engineers. He fully retired from the company in 1995.

He and Mary started the Fong Family Scholarships for Cal engineering students and have donated to Stanford and to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.

He is survived by Mary; his children, Sheryl Wong (Bob), Wendy Fong (Dave Arruda), Kevin (Michele), Darice Koo (Paul); his five grandchildren; his two great grandchildren; his brothers Ben and Tommy; and his sister, Helen. He is predeceased by his brothers Sam and James.

A memorial celebration of his life will be held on Wednesday, June 6, at 2 p.m. in the Agilent Auditorium at Agilent Headquarters 5301 Stevens Creek Blvd., Santa Clara 95051.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to UC Regents, Fong Family Award. Send to University Relations 2080 Addison St., #4200 Berekely, CA 94720-4200. Donations may also be made to the Cardiac Therapy Foundation of the Midpeninsula in honor of Art Fong at 4000 Middlefield Road, Suite G-8, Palo Alto, CA 94303; Stanford Hospital in honor of Art Fong at 330 Hill View Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94303-1203; Palo Alto Medical Foundation Department of Philanthropy at 795 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94301.

— Palo Alto Weekly staff


Like this comment
Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 1, 2012 at 11:32 pm

My condolences to Mr. Fong's family. There goes a great, great Palo Altan.

Like this comment
Posted by Mac Clayton
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 2, 2012 at 8:40 am

Art was our next-door neighbor. A delightful, smart, funny man. Impish, I would even say. Our whole family will miss him.

Like this comment
Posted by Met Him
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 2, 2012 at 10:30 am

I met Mr. Fong once. What a great person. A credit to his family and our area.

Like this comment
Posted by thank you
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 2, 2012 at 10:30 am

Thank you for this story. Mr. Fong was a brilliant, successful, generous, and unknown part of Silicon Valley history. Best wishes to the Fong family.

Like this comment
Posted by TA
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 2, 2012 at 1:14 pm

He is truly the pioneer Asian American in the valley. HP employee #6

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