Shrewsbury - Dr. Shih-kuan “Ken” Hsu was a scholar, engineer and ultimate family man. An accomplished student and the first in his family to earn a PhD in the US, Ken used his knowledge to become a dedicated software researcher and engineer for the US government. But most importantly, he was a selfless, generous person who gave so much of his time to everyone and derived so much happiness in a full life shared with a large extended family.
Ken was born on January 1, 1937, the 3rd of 6 children of the late Jen-duan Hsu and Yu-mei Chen in the small farm town of Linluo Township, Pingtung, Taiwan. While farming in the rice fields was a large part of his family’s life, education was also extremely important. His father was the principal of the local elementary school and Ken showed tremendous academic talent growing up, eventually being named one of the top 10 students in the history of his school in 2022. Ken was the first in his family to attend the prestigious National Taiwan University, where he graduated #1 in his department as a Mechanical Engineering major.
Ken earned a full scholarship to pursue a PhD degree in the School of Engineering at Brown University in Providence, RI. Towards the end of his graduate studies, he met his future wife, Mei-sheng Tai, who was in the PhD program at Clark University in Worcester, MA. Ken and Mei-sheng married in 1969 and they first settled in Storrs, CT where their children, Lloyd and Christina were born. Mei-sheng worked as a researcher at UConn while Ken held a research position at Alden Research Labs in Holden, MA and also taught at WPI. In the mid-80s, Mei-sheng joined a biotech company in Massachusetts and Ken joined the defense company MITRE, where he continued to work into his 86th year! The family settled in the iconic New England town of Shrewsbury, MA. Ken loved everything about Shrewsbury and considered himself an adopted son of the town. He shopped at Spag’s weekly; he volunteered and supported many local school activities; and the family were long-time members of the First Congregational Church. Long after his kids graduated from school and settled in California, Ken and Mei-sheng continued to live in Shrewsbury in the very house they bought in 1983.
Ken’s most identifiable features were his giant smile, twinkling eyes and signature laugh. Ken was an eternal optimist and believed no problem was too big to solve with a little persistence, resilience, knowledge and patience.
Ken had many interests, starting with his love of cars and any other moving vehicle. He loved to drive and take his family on long road trips but also would spend hours in the garage, tinkering, fixing, and modifying his cars. He also enjoyed any other activities where he could use his hands to create: cooking, sewing, remodeling, and building. He would use this passion to help friends and family over the years with anything that needed fixing or improving. His love of technology was equally great as he continuously kept up with the latest technological innovations over the past decades. He kept active all his life and well into his mid-80s, he was biking and jogging around the streets of Shrewsbury.
Most importantly, Ken loved family. Known to his kids and all their friends as “Baba,” he was the father who sacrificed so much of his own time for his kids. He provided guidance, direction, and support and was their biggest cheerleader. He paved the way for them to experience opportunities that he never had. His proudest moments culminated in sending his kids to Harvard and MIT. He prided himself on being a “Hsu-per Shuttle” and he’d drive between Shrewsbury and Cambridge dropping off treats, helping them move in and out of college and taking their friends out for nice meals. This tradition continued when his nephew went to Harvard and decades later, his grandchildren. For over three decades he ran that “Hsu-per Shuttle” route wearing his “H” hat with pride.
Ken died after a period of declining health on Sunday, February 5, 2023. He was 86.
In addition to his wife of 53 years, Mei-sheng, he leaves his children, Lloyd Hsu (Jan Foo) of Los Altos, California and Christina Hsu (Robert Lu) of Redwood City, California; his grandchildren, Jeremy and Stephanie Hsu; his siblings Shih-tien Hsu, Shih-yi Hsu, Jui-jyu Hsu, Jui-mei Hsu; many nieces & nephews. He is predeceased by his older brother, Shih-chao Hsu.
Family and friends will honor and remember Ken’s life by gathering on Saturday, February 18th for a calling hour in the Parlor at First Congregational Church, 19 Church Road, Shrewsbury from 10 – 11 a.m. followed by his funeral service at 11 a.m. in the church. The Rev. Holly MillerShank will officiate. Following the burial in Mountain View Cemetery, all are invited to a collation in Gifford Hall.
A link to the livestream of the service is available here: https://fccsm.org/ken-hsu-funeral
In lieu of flowers, the Hsu Family encourages donations to the Dr. Ken Hsu Memorial Trust which will provide scholarships to Shrewsbury High School graduates.
Checks can be made to “Shrewsbury Public Schools | Dr. Ken Hsu Memorial Trust” and mailed or dropped off at the Shrewsbury Public Schools Business Office located at 100 Maple Ave. Shrewsbury, MA 01545.
Arrangements by James & John Heald of The Joyce Funeral Home, 245 Main Street, Waltham.