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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, November 5, 2002

Queen's Dr. Terry Wong also invented magic tricks

By Beverly Creamer
Advertiser Staff Writer

Endocrinologist Terry Chen Yi Wong, a physician who kept magic tricks in his pocket and was such a good inventor of tricks that orders came from all over the world, died Oct. 28 at the age of 64.

Dr. Terry Wong manufactured and sold magic tricks to dealers throughout the country.
Wong was born in Honolulu, educated at Johns Hopkins University, trained at The Mayo Clinic, and had been in practice at Queen's Medical Center since 1973. He specialized in adult diabetes.

Of Wong's four children, three have gone into medicine, with his eldest daughter, Dr. Lisa Wong Samtani, continuing his work in endocrinology at Queen's. They were in practice together at his death.

His third daughter, Lara Dao, is a medical resident at Kaiser Oakland, practicing under the name of Lara Wong; his son, Jeffrey, is a fourth-year medical student at the John A. Burns School of Medicine. His second daughter, Kristina, works for Cisco Systems in Santa Clara, Calif.

Quiet and unassuming, Wong had a hidden side to his personality that few in his professional medical circles realized. An amateur magician from childhood, he had a life-long fascination with magic, studied its history and was a gifted inventor.

He manufactured and sold magic tricks to dealers throughout the country, and collected old magic apparatus that he scattered about the house, and constantly tinkered with. His wife said he always carried a trick in his pocket "just in case the opportunity to perform ever arose."

Additionally, Wong wrote poetry, and excelled as a photographer, once staging a one-man show at the Rochester Art Gallery in Rochester, Minn., while a fellow at The Mayo Clinic.

"He was a true Renaissance man," said Dr. Irving Schatz, chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at the John A. Burns School of Medicine where Wong was also a faculty member.

For a number of years Wong was among the annual "Best Doctors" selected by Honolulu Magazine, but he downplayed the attention because he said there were many excellent doctors not on the list. The first year he wouldn't let his wife order a Best Doctors plaque, but after that she did it anyway, without asking him.

Wong is survived by his wife, Kathleen; his four children; his brother, Ronald, and his sister, Jean.

Services will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at Thurston Memorial Chapel at Punahou School, which he attended from kindergarten through high school.

Visitation is from 12:30 to 2 p.m. The family requests aloha attire and no flowers. Arrangements are by Diamond Head Mortuary.