BlackI leave for three months sabbatical in Oslo, Norway, this afternoon. Originally I was scheduled to go last Wednesday, but delayed the departure after Brian Liu’s father died Monday in a fire at the family home. There was so much to do to prepare for the funeral on Friday, retrieve precious items from the smoke-damaged house, and deal with insurance. Plus help Mrs. Liu, who is now staying with Brian.

The delayed departure means I will start the sabbatical on Wednesday, 1 February. More on this later. If you’d like to send a message to Brian and his mother, please email them at:

An obit. Brian prepared for the local newspaper, the Laurel Leader follows…

“Sandy” Yan Ming Liu
“Sandy” Yan Ming Liu, 69, a resident of the same West Laurel home since 1968, died Jan. 23, 2006 of a fire in his garage, just after being diagnosed with terminal lung and brain cancer only 2 months earlier.

Sandy Liu was born Sept 1, 1937 in Hong Kong, graduated from Pui Ching High School on Sept 1, 1956, and immigrated to the United States on full scholarships to Pepperdine University and the University of California at Berkley. He married in Washington D.C. on May 26, 1968 and was naturalized on April 13, 1973. Following receipt of a graduate degree in Physics from the University of Maryland, he worked as an engineer for California Institute of Technology Jet Propulsion Labs, Goddard Space Flight Center (mid to late 60’s), The National Bureau of Standards (1969-1980), and most recently retired in July 2002 from 22 years of service as an Emergency Response Supervisory Engineer (w/ an expertise in the field of Photo Lithography) at Westinghouse Defense Center/Northrop Grumman (1980-2002).

Known for his quiet kindness, loyal friendships, and generosity, he spent the last 5-10 years traveling the world with his wife, and playing tennis, biking and swimming in various Laurel parks.

Sandy Liu is survived by his wife of 37 years, Lana, a travel agency owner, and his son Brian, a creative director/filmaker, who are both currently in Washington D.C.

A heavily attended memorial Mass was celebrated on the beautiful Friday afternoon of Jan. 27, 2006 at St. Mary of the Mills Catholic Church in Laurel, with the Rev. Msgr. Michael Wilson officiating. Burial followed at Parklawn Memorial Park cemetery in Rockville.

Arrangements were by Donaldson Funeral Home in Laurel. Memorial donations may be made to the George Washington University Cancer Center Fund (contact Barbara Apseloff (202)741-2218, email