Weiqin Xie, 74, passed away on April 1, 2023. He was the beloved father of Siyuan Xie and proud grandfather of Sofia Yin Ortiz Xie, whom he helped name. Weiqin was a cancer survivor who heroically fought the disease for eleven years and never lost his optimism. Everyone who knew Weiqin spoke of his bravery, perseverance, and boundless hope. He was born abroad in Vietnam, where his late father, Wushen, was stationed as a Chinese diplomat under the Kuomintang regime, before the family moved back to Shanghai, China. His father later worked as a French professor after he left the foreign service, and his late mother, Ruifang, was a pharmaceutical engineer. Weiqin grew up in the Shanghai French Concession alongside his late, cherished younger brother, Weijian. After the Cultural Revolution ended and schools in China reopened in 1977, only Weiqin and his former spouse Xiaorong, whom he remained on amiable terms with, passed the entrance exams for their district, allowing them both to attend college.
Weiqin was a dedicated scholar, earning a bachelor’s degree in Biology from East China Normal University and a Master of Science in Zoology from Iowa State University. Though he changed careers away from his field of study, he remained fascinated by zoology and wild animals, and regularly shared wildlife news stories with his daughter and kept her updated on the antics and welfare of the squirrels outside his apartment building. He also studied Classical Chinese, was deeply knowledgeable about history, culture, and politics, and translated French and Japanese. A lifelong bibliophile, Weiqin was known for his extensive collection of books, which he freely lent to friends. He had a sweet tooth, particularly for donuts and ice cream, and he was a tea connoisseur. He loved jazz and classical music and he requested for Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue to be played in his final moments.
Weiqin lived all over the US, first arriving in Ames, Iowa in 1983 for graduate school before moving to Columbus, Ohio, then Woodmere, Ohio, before moving to Plainsboro, New Jersey in 1997. He finally settled in Jersey City in 2008. He made friends wherever he went and maintained those friendships for decades. An avid cyclist, he loved exploring the area on his daily bike rides, especially New York City, where he commuted for work. At age 61, he completed a Tour de Manhattan, biking 31 miles in one day. He frequently played tour guide to his daughter and out-of-town friends, and his favorite places were always bookstores and museums.
Weiqin was passionate, opinionated, epically stubborn, and determined, with a unique but irrepressible sense of humor and a booming laugh. He was gregarious and outgoing and would strike up conversations with complete strangers over the books they were reading. He was also compassionate and kind, generous, and loved helping others. Weiqin was a bold dreamer and unafraid to take risks. He taught himself computer programming in his late 40s, eventually working in finance on Wall Street as a programmer at age 60. He loved learning and was well- known for his diligence and tireless pursuit of knowledge. He once explained to a friend that “there are many people smarter than me, but not many more hardworking than me.” His personal motto was “who else but me,” a Chinese idiom for someone who dares to act because no one else will. He lived a remarkable life and will be dearly missed by his family and friends.
The memorial service for Weiqin will be held on Sunday, April 16, 2023, from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM at Riotto Funeral Home & Cremation Company, 3205 Kennedy Blvd. (For GPS Navigation, it is best to use our parking lot entrance address: 14 Stagg Street, Jersey City). In lieu of flowers, charitable donations can be made to the following charities in honor of Weiqin’s memory: Cancer Research Institute (https://www.cancerresearch.org/), American Cancer Society (https://www.cancer.org/), or to Wildlife Conservation Society (https://www.wcs.org/).
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American Cancer Society
P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City OK 73123
Cancer Research Institute
29 Broadway, Floor 4, New York NY 10006-3111
Wildlife Conservation Society
2300 Southern Boulevard Bronx, Bronx NY 10460