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YU KUN PEI (1919-2015): O-I inventor, engineer assisted ties with China

Post Time:Dec 30,2015Classify:Industry NewsView:303

Yu Kun “Y.K.” Pei, an inventor and engineer in ceramic, glass, and solar collection technology for Owens-Illinois Inc., died Dec. 23 in Hospice of Northwest Ohio, South Detroit Avenue. He was 96.

 

Mr. Pei of South Toledo had cancer, his daughter, Roberta, said.

 

image: http://www.toledoblade.com/image/2015/12/30/150x_b1_a3-4_cCM_z/n4pei.jpg

 

Pei Pei

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He retired in 1981 from O-I, where over a 23-year career he worked in glass technology and new product development. Mr. Pei was listed as the inventor on numerous patents assigned to O-I.

 

He had an engineer’s mind by training,” his daughter said. “All his life he wanted to fix things. He was a do-it-yourself guy.

 

He largely built his own house. He fixed his cars. He was curious about anything,” his daughter said.

 

He liked the latitude the glassmaker gave him — “and O-I had all the resources,” his daughter said. “He enjoyed his work, and he and my mother enjoyed being in Toledo.”

 

The energy crisis of the 1970s sparked an enduring interest: “He got into solar energy and never stopped,” his daughter said. “He tried to find a way to make the world a better place to live.”

 

A solar collection system he invented, Sunpak, was featured in the July, 1977, issue of Popular Science magazine. Mr. Pei explained how the project came about and technical details.

 

He added that Sunpak’s competitors were fossil fuels — and predicted, “we should be able to match them in the cost-benefit area.”

 

Our major problem, in fact, is a chicken-and-egg marketing dilemma: You need people to buy before you can manufacture, but you must manufacture before people can buy,” Mr. Pei told Popular Science.

 

In his early years of retirement, Mr. Pei helped O-I, but also Owens Corning and the Libbey-Owens-Ford Co., as they pursued joint ventures in China. He later was a consultant for two Chinese government ministries.

 

For 30 years, he and his wife had a residence in Beijing, returning every summer to their home in Toledo.

 

He also helped forge sister-city ties, made formal in 1985, between Toledo and Qinhuangdao, China. During the Toledo delegation’s visit, he served as an interpreter — of language and culture, said former Toledo Mayor Donna Owens.

 

He was a very soft-spoken, sweet man,” Ms. Owens said. “He was very helpful.”

 

He was born in 1919 in Hong Kong to Tsuyee Pei and Lian Jun Zhuang. In 1944, his father was a member of the Chinese delegation to the United Nations monetary and financial conference at Bretton Woods, N.H., and later governor of the Central Bank of China under the Nationalist government.

 

Mr. Pei’s early schooling was in Hong Kong and Shanghai. His older brother — I.M. Pei — already was in the United States studying architecture.

 

In China in those days, the dream was to go and study in the United States,” his daughter said.

 

He attended the Colorado School of Mines near Denver for a year. He received a bachelor of science degree in metallurgy and a master’s degree in ceramics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 

He worked at Corning Glass Works, Corning, N.Y., and glass works in Shanghai and Qinhuangdao. He also worked for glass works in Mexico before he was hired by O-I.

 

Surviving are his wife, Mary Lee Pei, whom he married Jan. 1, 1950; son, Gee Pei; daughter, Roberta Pei; stepmother, Aileen Pei; brothers I.M. Pei, the renowned architect, and Y.T. Pei; sisters Denise Sze and Patricia Pei Tang, and two granddaughters.

 

Services will be private. Arrangements are by the Reeb Funeral Home, Sylvania.

 

The family suggests tributes to Hospice of Northwest Ohio.

 

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.

 

Read more at http://www.toledoblade.com/local/2015/12/30/YU-KUN-PEI-1919-2015-O-I-inventor-engineer-assisted-ties-with-China.html#X04TTgGECv5UIBYs.99

Source: http://www.toledoblade.com/local/2015/12/30/YU-KUNAuthor: shangyi

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