Sophie Ay-Fung Loh Chien

Sophie Ay-Fung Loh Chien

January 09, 1932 - April 26, 2021

Sophie Ay-Fung Loh Chien

January 09, 1932 - April 26, 2021



On Monday, April 26th, 2021, Sophie Ay-fung Loh Chien passed away in Laguna Niguel, California at age 89.  She lived a triumphant life and we will miss her greatly. Sophie was a “tour de force” throughout her remarkable life.  She was and will always be an inspiration to us all in her courage, optimism, generosity, perseverance and entrepreneurship.  A loving wife and mother, she was also a devoted friend to many.

Sophie was born in Shanghai, China and fled the Communist regime as a teen.  She earned a B.A. in Economics at National Taiwan University.  After completing her MBA at the University of Minnesota on scholarship, she met and married the love of her life, Robert T. Chien in 1957. They started a family in New York where Robert worked at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center. She raised four children with Robert, who was later Professor and Director of the Coordinated Science Lab at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She and Robert sponsored many Loh family members to immigrate to the United States.  As a dedicated and loving mother, she instilled in her family values of excellence in learning, music, sports and community. She served as Deacon of the First Presbyterian Church of Urbana.  A savvy business woman and entrepreneur, Sophie founded and was President of S&R Management, which she grew into a multi-million dollar real-estate business over 20 years.

After Robert’s passing in 1983, Sophie’s lifelong passion for travels led her to six continents.  Whether a Kenyan Safari, riding an elephant in India, admiring Iguazu Falls in Paraguay or the Xian Terra Cotta Warriors, she was always planning her next adventure. . . and her children all hoped to be invited to accompany her on the next one!

When at home, Sophie loved tennis, bridge and music. In spite of learning tennis in her 40’s, her tenacity and competitive energy allowed her to win trophies in both singles and doubles leagues. An avid bridge player for over 50 years, she played competitive duplicate bridge tournaments at the La Jolla Bridge Club where she was also elected Club Treasurer. Sophie was an accomplished musician and pianist from childhood, and held a deep passion for music throughout her life.  She sang in the choir at First Presbyterian Church in Urbana, performed with the San Diego Chinese Choral Society and enjoyed the Metropolitan Opera HD Live with her friends.

Most of all, for 37 years Sophie was the respected and admired Chien family matriarch. She embraced life in California for the last 19 years, delighted in new friends, her children and a growing number of grandchildren. Sophie leaves a rich legacy of friends and family and is survived by: Emily Chien Mahoney, an IBM executive; Tony Chien, an executive and business owner; Andrew Chien, a technologist and professor at the University of Chicago; and  Steve Chien, a computer scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  She also leaves six grandchildren: Grace Mahoney, Jennifer Chien, Elizabeth Mahoney, Athena Chien, Robert Chien, and Isabella Chien.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to one of the two options below:

The Metropolitan Opera of New York.

Memorial Name: Sophie Ay-fung Loh Chien
Notification (on web page):
Dr. Steve Chien
474 Paulette Pl
La Canada, CA 91011
Relationship: Son

University of California San Diego Hospital
E3574:  UCSD Hospitals Discretionary Fund

In Memory of: Sophie Ay-fung Loh Chien

Send an acknowledgement to (on web page):
Dr. Steve Chien
474 Paulette Pl
La Canada, CA 91011

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6 responses to Sophie Ay-Fung Loh Chien

  1. Dear Emily, Tom, Grace and Elizabeth, We all send our deepest sympathies for the loss of this lovely lady. Our prayers are with you. Yours, Julie

    1. A beautiful person, good mother and friend.
      See you soon dear sophie .

  2. Thank you to everyone who sent flowers and attended May 4 ceremony in person and on-line.

  3. Jake Ring says:

    Tony, please accept our condolences. Your mother was so wonderful and engaging when we met her at your wedding celebration, and she was so proud of you and Annie. We will keep her and your whole family in our prayers, and know she is smiling down on you from heaven.
    God bless y’all,
    Jake and Annette Ring

  4. Thank You

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