Tuesday, June 18, 2002


Marathons brought doctor
and his family together

More obituaries

By Mary Vorsino

Hing Hua Chun was anything but "hunky."

But the local medical leader and father to Hawaii's own version of the "Brady Bunch" kept the nickname, even after he quit smoking in the '60s, lost a few extra pounds in the '70s and ran the Honolulu Marathon 25 years in a row.

Chun, wife Connie and their six children -- Chun's three boys and Connie's three girls -- were deemed the "Hunky Bunch" in the '70s when the family set out together to run the Honolulu Marathon and then the Boston Marathon.

Chun died of lung cancer Wednesday at Queen's Medical Center. He was 70.

"There are so many people he touched, (and) I thought he'd beat it (cancer)," said Chun's oldest son, Jerold, a senior director at the pharmaceutical company Merck Inc.

"You just don't come by this kind of guy anymore. I can say this with absolute certainty. ... He really lived to be the best physician that he could be."

Chun and Connie, his second wife, married in 1970. Four years later, the family's eight members were sporting "Hunky Bunch" sweatshirts while running the nearly 30-mile Boston Marathon.

Chun told the Associated Press after the race: "It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. ... If the kids can't get a wedding reception ... remember, blame it on the Boston Marathon."

For Chun, the chief of medicine at St. Francis Medical Center for 13 years and associate professor at the University of Hawaii's John A. Burns School of Medicine, marathon running was more than a hobby.

It was a way to fuse two families into one, Jerold Chun said.

"He was looking for activities to kind of get us together. It was a challenge that my dad saw for us. He decided that this was something he wanted to do."

At the peak of their running days, the family collectively ran more than 25,000 miles and wore out 24 pairs of tennis shoes in one year.

But it was Chun's philanthropy that Jerold Chun will most remember his father by. Up until only months before his death, Chun was making house calls for his senior patients and making his rounds at nursing homes around the island.

"He was a doctor's doctor," and he prompted his three sons to pursue his profession, Jerold Chun said.

Chun graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1948, the University of Hawaii in 1952 and Northwestern Medical School in 1956.

He is survived by wife Connie; sons Jerold, Daven and Hingson; daughters Maylynne Gill, June Beltran and Joy Groody; brother Ping Son; and 10 grandchildren. Chun's ashes were scattered at sea Sunday during a private service.

Donations can be sent to St. Francis Healthcare Foundation at 2226 Liliha St., Honolulu 96817.

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