Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao


March 19, 1930 – August 2, 2007

Named after the heroine of Chinese folklore Hua Mulan, Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao lived a life of virtue, compassion and grace, often in conditions of extraordinary adversity. The second of five children, Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao was born in Anhui, China to enlightened parents who encouraged their daughters’ higher education aspirations, in spite of the cultural pressures of the day.  Her father, the Honorable Vei Ching Chu (朱维谦 先生),served as a member of the Judiciary Yuan, and her mother, Mrs. Hui Ying Tien Chu (朱田慧英 女士), exemplified the virtues of generosity, kindness, and fairness.

In the course of the domestic, political, and economic turmoil that shook China during the first half of the 20th century, Mrs. Chao’s family left their ancestral home in Anhui Province.  During those harrowing years, ten-year-old Ruth was charged with recovering the family’s valuables, which had been hidden on the grounds of the ancestral family land.  It was thought the occupying invading forces would not so easily notice a young child.  She skillfully navigated through Japanese military checkpoints, across treacherous and rough terrain, to reach the family estate and secured the valuables.  She knew her life would be in danger if she were caught with the valuables so she sewed them into the lining of her garment and returned to her family undetected by the occupying enemy forces. Her family’s ability to survive the ensuing conflict was due, in no small part, to the bravery of the young Ruth Mulan Chu Chao.