Dr. Chain Chang Tai was born on April 5, 1943 in Anhui, China. He and his family fled to Taiwan when the Nationalist Army led by Chiang Kai Shek lost the Chinese civil war. Dr. Tai spent most of his childhood in Hsinchu. Later, he studied veterinary medicine at the National Provincial Pingtung Institute of Agriculture. He earned money as a math tutor. While he was tutoring, he met his future wife, Baolian Hoh. After graduating from college, Dr. Tai fulfilled his compulsory military service on the nearby island of Kinmen, a dangerous assignment considering the ongoing animosity between Taiwan and mainland China. Upon discharge, Dr. Tai was accepted into the veterinary program at Kagoshima University in Japan. As he was studying there, he married Ms. Hoh who moved to Japan with him. The couple had two children, both boys, and upon earning his degree, he received his license to practice veterinary medicine in Japan. He immigrated to the United States in 1974.
When he arrived in the United States, Dr. Tai lived in Turlock, where his mother and sister purchased a farm. His wife and children joined him there six months later. After another few months, he moved his family to San Francisco where Dr. Tai found a job as a dishwasher at a Chinese restaurant. Dr. Tai was unable to practice veterinary medicine at the time because he lacked an internship and still needed to pass the board exam. For Dr. Tai, however, his primary focus was on earning enough to feed his family. He moved twice more before the family settled in Campbell. He worked at the Lantern House Chinese restaurant in Los Gatos. It was while working there that a customer heard about Dr. Tai’s educational background and suggested he enroll in a government sponsored vocational program. Dr. Tai took the suggestion and six month later, he found a new job as a quality control engineer at General Electric.
Dr. Tai and his family moved once again to an apartment complex in San Jose. His wife learned how to make ribbon roses and together they would spend their weekends selling roses to supplement Dr. Tai’s income. In 1976, a third son was born. Dr. Tai and his wife saved up enough money for a down payment on a brand-new Shapell house. In 1981, they moved in. Meanwhile, Dr. Tai received an internship at an animal hospital in Morgan Hill. He also passed the board exam and earned his license to practice veterinary medicine. Once he received his license, Dr. Tai found a position at Junction Avenue Veterinary Clinic. Not financially secure yet, Dr. Tai and his family continued to sell roses at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf.
In 1983, He started his own practice, San Jose Spay-Neuter Clinic, that specialized in altering dogs and cats. Dr. Tai and his wife worked seven days a week until his practice became established. Dr. Tai’s clinic believed in making his services affordable to everyone. With his wife as his assistant, he was able to provide a full range of services at a fraction of the prices charged by other veterinary clinics. His low price and high-quality services endeared him to many people. With a friendly disposition and loquacious personality, Dr. Tai was a favorite among his numerous friends, fans and colleagues.
After all three sons graduated from university, he and his wife built a new home in Gilroy. They moved there in 2000. Dr. Tai suffered a massive heart attack in 2009 that required a double by-pass surgery. Complications from surgery resulted in a stroke that took him two years to recover. Dr. Tai eventually recovered enough to continue his practice until he retired in September 2017.
In August 2018, Dr. Tai collapsed at a Costco near his Gilroy home. He was later diagnosed with bile duct cancer that had metastasized to the liver. Dr. Tai passed away three months later, on November 13, 2018 at 9:06 pm. He was 75 years old. His wife of 49 years, three sons and two daughter-in-laws were by his side when he passed. He is also survived by his six grand-daughters.
To plant a tree in memory of Dr. Chain Chang Tai, please visit our tribute store.