Remembering Scott Chan and his daughter, Kendra Chan, who died in a tragic boat fire

Scott Chan and Kendra Chan. Photo: Chan family

Scott Chan, 59, and his daughter Kendra Chan, 26, lost their lives in the Conception diving boat tragedy on Sept. 2. Extinguished too early on earth, they have left behind a legacy of curiosity, adventure, and devotion to the natural world.

Scott Chan grew up in Berkeley and attended Stanford University where he earned his B.S. (1981) and M. Sci (1982) in electrical engineering. He met his wife Vicki Moore at Stanford, and they married in 1984. They shared an interest in art and other cultures, and Scott brought adventure to Vicki’s life in the form of biking, skiing, scuba diving, and travel. An engineer at heart, Scott was fundamentally interested in machines, which led to his appreciation of all things fast – learning about planes and WWII, amateur bicycle racing and Sunday morning rides with his cycling group, and racing cars at local racetracks.

After 20 years as an electrical engineer in Silicon Valley, Scott switched gears to become an AP physics teacher. His greatest satisfaction was helping his students understand a subject he loved, and his innovative teaching style inspired many of them to pursue degrees in science. Summers were spent traveling with his family and furthering scientific research – at Stanford’s particle physics lab and most recently this year, diving and cataloging reefs to further ocean conservation in Timor-Leste. Scott was very dedicated and serious – which made his deadpan jokes and comic antics, both inside the classroom with silly props and at home with droll comments, all the more hilarious and special.

Kendra joined the world in 1993 and was immediately introduced to nature by tagging along in her parents’ backpacks and bike seats. She first visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium as a toddler, and never outgrew her fascination with fish and marine life. While earning her B.S. in Evolution, Ecology, and Biodiversity (2015) at UC Davis, she spent two summers at the Bodega Bay Marine Lab. After graduating she worked for the Marine Science Institute and then the US Fish and Wildlife Service, championing endangered species and infecting others with her curiosity and enthusiasm for our planet’s diversity of life – from the underappreciated eelgrass to the enormous mola mola.

Her uncommon patience led her to spot lifeforms others would miss, whether peering between rocks in the intertidal zone, trekking through the forest, or scouring mountain ranges. Kendra cultivated an amazing group of close friends and family who will never forget her passion for all living things (and garlic bread!), how she surrounded herself with blue and the ocean, her infectious laugh, and her love of adventure.

It was on one such father-daughter adventure that Scott and Kendra left us: wife and mother Vicki Moore, son and brother Kevin Chan, and Scott’s parents Ida and Ray Chan, sisters Barbara and Marsha (Terry), siblings-in-law Lissa, Debbie (Bill), Bud (Rosie), Doug (Joy), and Kendra’s cousins Tara (Andy), Tamara, Tiffany (Drew), Rain, Bryan, Keiashia, and innumerable other loving family and friends.

Scott and Kendra lived life to the fullest, not just for themselves, but in service to others and the natural world. For those wishing to honor their lives, donations to the Chan-Moore Legacy Fund on GoFundMe will benefit the California Academy of Sciences, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Ocean Conservancy.