Dr. Ronald Wu, a physician blessed with extraordinary skills and a calm, quiet manner, is being remembered by friends, colleagues, patients and families whose lives he touched with great care and grace during his nearly 50 years in private practice, serving the Glendale community and beyond.
Dr. Wu passed away peacefully in his home during the early morning hours of September 8, surrounded by his family. During the past 16 years, he fought a heroic battle against lung cancer but remained steadfast in his commitment to his patients until he retired in June 2017.
Dr. Wu was born in 1941 on the small island of Gulangyu, a short distance from the coastal city of Xiamen, China. He began his education in Singapore where he attended grade school through junior college. He came to the United States and completed his undergraduate studies at Union College, Nebraska, in 1964, followed by four years at Loma Linda University School of Medicine.
During his final year at Loma Linda, he met a young lady named Georgiana at a Seventh-day Adventist church social. Just two weeks after Dr. Wu completed medical school in June 1968, he and Georgiana were married on Father’s Day.
The couple moved to Glendale shortly after, and Dr. Wu began a one-year internship and a three-year residency at Glendale Adventist Hospital (today’s Adventist Health Glendale). It was a busy time for the young doctor, often working days at the hospital and nights in emergency rooms around Los Angeles to save up so he and Georgiana could buy a home in Glendale and eventually start a family.
During his internship, Dr. Wu made a decision that would affect the rest of his working life. He would specialize in obstetrics and gynecology. For nearly half-a-century until his retirement, he dedicated his practice to providing the highest skilled care to women with difficult pregnancies and deliveries. He helped bring more than 20,000 healthy babies into the world at Adventist Health Glendale.
Through the years, his practice drew patients from throughout the U.S. and as far away as Europe, China and India. There were individual cases of note. In 1994, Dr. Wu delivered triplets vaginally to a 50-year-old Eagle Rock woman, which was covered by the L.A. Times and CNN. He remembered this experience as a highlight of his career. “I was thrilled,” he said.
Not only did Dr. Wu guide mothers and their families through challenging times, he also was a mentor to countless physicians and medical students. Nurses who worked alongside him treasured him as a teacher and friend, and they especially loved the times during breaks when he sang his favorite songs! He will be remembered for his infectious smile, his “Dr. Wu-isms,” and his celebratory whistle.
Beyond his medical practice, Dr. Wu loved all sports. As a younger man, playing soccer was his passion. As he grew older, tennis was his joy, especially playing doubles. To celebrate his 70th birthday, he attended all four Grand Slam tennis tournaments — Australian, French and U.S. Opens, and Wimbledon.
Looking back on his career, Dr. Wu reflected, “I love delivering babies! Seeing the joy and happiness it brings to families is so fulfilling.”
Recognizing both Dr. Wu and Georgiana for their lifelong commitment to the hospital and community, Adventist Health Glendale’s auditorium now carries their names. The Foundation recently also honored them at its UNGala 2020 in early August, a memorable evening that Dr. Wu attended, greeting friends from a social distance with waves and broad smiles.
Ronald is survived by his wife of 52 years, Georgiana; daughters Roxanne Wu and Crystal (Bryan) Simpson; granddaughter Eryn Wu Simpson; brother Gary Seng Hock Wu; and many other dear family members.
The family will plan a memorial service for Dr. Wu in 2021. Details will be announced as arrangements are confirmed.
Donations in Dr. Wu’s memory may be made to the Adventist Health Glendale Foundation, in support of patient care at the hospital. The address is 1509 Wilson Terrace, Glendale, CA 91206.