Henry Sung, age 99 of Tampa, Florida, died peacefully on October 29, 2019 at his daughter’s home after a brief illness.
During his long and eventful life, Mr. Sung was a soldier, scholar, athlete, journalist and businessman, touching the lives of many in his business and hobby pursuits.
He was born on June 20, 1920 in Shangdong Province, China. The youngest of six children, Mr. Sung was just 16 years old, a high school student, when the Japanese invaded China in 1936 and his hometown of Tianjin. After the Chinese army was defeated, Mr. Sung organized a student resistance movement from which he and his young colleagues fought the occupation.
By 1941, after five years of underground warfare, his identity became known to the occupation forces. He escaped them, coming to the United States in the summer of 1941.
Mr. Sung graduated from Antioch College in Ohio. From there went to New York City where he earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. Hired by a newspaper wire service as a war correspondent and interpreter, he prepared to go back to China with the Allied invasion forces. However, soon after his graduation, the war in the Pacific ended with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Mr. Sung then began working as a newspaper reporter and later a newspaper editor in New York City.
In 1946, Mr. Sung wrote and published a memoir, entitled It is Dark Underground (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York). The book chronicled his efforts from 1937 until 1941 as a resistance leader in the guerilla war against the Japanese occupation of China during World War II.
Henry and Laura (nee Hsu) Sung were married June 17, 1951. Their daughter, Jeanette, was born in May 1952 in the Bronx, New York City. The 1949 revolution in China made it impossible for him to return to China after the war and he did not return until 1994 to renew family relationships and friendships after more than a 50-year absence. He returned several times after 1994, and for the last time in 2005.
In 1955, the family moved from New York to Tampa, Florida where Mr. Sung became a businessman. His numerous ventures included accounting, real estate and, eventually, opening and running several Chinese restaurants in Tampa, including the very popular Chinese Pavilion on Henderson before retiring in 1993.
Mr. and Mrs. Sung were very active for many years with the Dog Training Club of Tampa and their dogs earned many titles in obedience and agility Throughout his life Mr. Sung was an athlete, playing basketball in high school and college in Tianjin and later at Antioch College.
He was a skilled golfer and bowler, participating in both sports well into his 90s. He was also an avid hiker, musician, animal lover, and enjoyed gardening. In his later years, Mr. Sung lived for several years in Belleview, Florida before moving back to Tampa in 2014. In his last few years, he lived at Hudson Manor Assisted Living facility on Davis Island where he appreciated the company of staff members and fellow residents and was very grateful for their friendship and assistance.
Mr. Sung is survived by his daughter, Jeanette; son-in-law, Randolph Fillmore; many nieces and nephews both in the U.S. and in China, and friends, all of whom will greatly miss him. Memorial services are being planned. In lieu of flowers, please donate to Lifepath Hospice https://lifepathhospice.