Working Dad, Lover and Restorer of All Things Vintage, Creator of New Technology.
The Beatles had just arrived in the U.S., the civil rights movement had reached a crescendo, and President Lyndon Johnson was about to tragically escalate American involvement in Southeast Asia. It was 1964. Under this incredible social and political backdrop, Wyndham “Wayne” Chow was born to Cary and Nancy Chow, their fourth child and singular son. His arrival at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital on May 12 was a joyous note for the Chows, who had very recently immigrated to the US from China. It is not entirely clear how they came to choose Wyndham (a boy’s name of British origin which literally means from the windy village) for their new son, but it may have had something to do with their time spent in Hong Kong prior to leaving China.
Wyndham’s experience as the first American-born member of the Chows was not unlike that of so many other Chinese family members in the U.S. As his parents set about rebuilding their lives and careers in Los Angeles, Wayne grew up as an ABC (an “American-Born Chinese” kid) who spoke English with his teachers and peers, while helping his parents learn the language at home. After finishing primary and secondary education in the Hollywood (Cheremoya, Le Conte) and Los Feliz neighborhoods of Los Angeles (John Marshall High) as “Wayne,” Wyndham matriculated to the University of California at Davis with his given first name. It was here that he had his first taste of life outside of Southern California. He was able to make lifelong friends and developed many interests in the process – design, art, food, music (DJing for KDVS, UC Davis’ radio station), and tiki culture. Following his graduation from UC Davis with a degree in environmental design, Wyndham spent time at the University of Texas at Austin studying architecture before relocating back to Los Angeles to attend SCI-Arc, a renowned school of architecture. He graduated SCI-Arc in 1991, with a Master’s Degree in Architecture.
Wyndham’s proficiency in art, technology, and design was a highly sought after skill set, allowing him to work with many different companies over the course of his career. While at computer game legend Activision Studios, he oversaw the development of several game titles as Art Director, including their accompanying CD-ROM and website design. Later, while working at Sony Pictures Entertainment, he was responsible for the creative development at Columbia TriStar Interactive, including web, print and on-air promotions. Apple, Yahoo, 21st Century Fox, Amazon, iHeart, and Ticketmaster were but a few of the high-profile companies he worked with during his lifetime. In his own words, he was a “gearhead” and “petrolhead.” His fascination with cars fueled his active membership in e9coupe.com, his admin role for a Facebook page dedicated to classic BMW cars, and regular attendance at numerous car rallies throughout California, where he always made new friends.
As a child of Hollywood, he also loved art, music and film. His vinyl collection spanned hundreds of titles, and his taste in music ranged from hip hop to jazz to new wave. One of his last gigs as a DJ was for the children’s daycare at Whole Foods in Brooklyn, New York.
He never stopped cooking special meals for friends and family, which he had learned from his mother. He was a devoted caregiver for both of his parents and his Uncle David. He is survived by three sisters (Vivien, Angela and Linda), three children (Oliver, Kou and Anzu), and his partner Kazumi Arikawa. He will be missed by many friends — one of Wyndham’s superpowers was his ability to sustain enduring friendships with an eclectic group over decades. He will always be remembered for his generosity and stalwart devotion. A ceremony and remembrance will be held on Sunday, January 16, at Wyndham’s home in Glendale, California. All friends and family are welcome.