Yifan “Ivan” Shen (1962–2010)

Ivan in happier times

I received news last night that my friend and co-worker, Ivan Shen, passed away on Sunday after losing a five month battle with cancer.  During his career Ivan worked for serialization and pedigree companies including Oat Systems, Reva Systems and SupplyScape (now TraceLink).  Many RxTrace subscribers are current or former co-workers or former customers of Ivan.

I met Ivan a few years ago when we both worked for SupplyScape.  At that time I was struck by his quick wit and sense of humor.  Since that time we both ended up employed by the same company again.  When I started the RxTrace blog, Ivan was among my earliest subscribers and I always appreciated his thoughts and comments on my essays.

Ivan was intensely proud of his Chinese…err, Shanghai-ese…ancestry.  He was active in his Church.  He is survived by a daughter, a sister and his former wife.  If the family posts a full obituary I will update this post with a link to it.  [UPDATE:  Ivan’s funeral will be held in Waltham, MA on Saturday, August 21, 2010.  If you want the details, please contact me directly. — Dirk.]

[2nd UPDATE:  Click here for Ivan’s Obituary]

[3rd UPDATE:  Click here for a slide show featuring great photos of Ivan throughout his adult life]

Back in April, Ivan bought a bicycle and challenged me to a competition to see who would ride his bike to work most often.  The first time he rode to work it exhausted him.   That was the first indication something was wrong with his health.  He didn’t ride again.  Tragically, he waited four more weeks before seeing a doctor, with his health deteriorating each day.

Shortly after he was diagnosed, I signed up to ride my bike in the Pelotonia, a cancer fundraiser with 100% of the donations going to fund cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.  I dedicated my planned ride to the memory of my father, who died of cancer two years ago, and to Ivan, a “future cancer survivor” as I put it back then.  The ride is this coming weekend, August 21, 2010.

If you knew Ivan, you may be interested in donating to fund research that we hope will end cancer as we know it.  You can donate generally here, or you can donate through my personal ride page by clicking here.  Donations can be made through October 2010.  (I do not receive any financial benefit from donations.)

Ivan was a special person.  He will be missed.

Ivan and Dirk May 26, 2010

26 thoughts on “Yifan “Ivan” Shen (1962–2010)”

  1. Ivan was a great guy. Worked with him briefly, but always appreciated his wit and levity in any situation. He’ll be missed.

  2. Ivan was smart, knowledgeable, and a very nice person. Not often do you find such a combination.

  3. Ivan was an extremely smart and funny person and a devoted father. I enjoyed working with him. He will be missed.

  4. Ivan will truly be missed. I worked with him for a couple of years at OAT and he was an awesome guy to work with, funny and incredibly talented.

  5. When Ivan was in Reva, he achieved a lot in Asia within a short span of time. His friendliness, liveliness and diligence gained him a lot of respect in China. He’ll be greatly missed by many at this side of the world.

  6. I first met Ivan, he was still working in REVA. Because of his profession, his charm, and I became his business partner. I will miss him. Those who wish to live every day happy.
    Although my English is not good, but does not affect I miss him

  7. Ivan will surely be missed. He is always a happy guy and keep the company spirit up. Can you please share the funeral information?

  8. I was shocked by the sad news.Ivan was such a fun and active person to work with.I will miss him.

  9. This is very, very sad as Ivan was a terrific father to his daughter and a wonderful guy to be around. He made many great contributions to OAT Systems in its earliest and most challenges days. His good work and quick wit lives on.

  10. I feel very sorry to hear about the news. Ivan is such a nice man. He helped me so much, and without any expection to me. It is him who make me feel at home in Boston. The happiest thing for us to do is to drive all the way to a favorite restaurant and have a big dinner. Sometimes, he is actually a behaviour model to me. Always be optimistic to your life, endure any difficulties, to make things happen even it seems impossible.

  11. I am saddened by Ivan’s death. I had worked with him in Cardinal. Therefore, I feel that we have lost a good fellow co-worker.
    My sincere thoughts and prayers are with you. Let our prayer bring peace to your soul.

  12. Thank you Dirk for dedicating a section of your blog to Ivan. I just came back from Ivan’s funeral in Waltham. It was nicely arranged by his sister Yiqin, celebrating Ivan’s short yet colorful life. Among speakers were Ivan’s sister, his high school and college classmates, roommates, and colleagues.

    As a colleague of Ivan’s at Reva System, I also went to the podium and spoke. Ivan and I shared many trips to China, and I had the opportunity to work closely with Ivan, witnessing the tremendous trust and credibility he established among his network of former and current customers. Ivan loved to talk about sports and politics and he loathed mediocrity. Ivan enjoys John Denver’s country music and had always his songs playing when I rides in his beloved Lincoln LS (or, as he reminded me every time, “dude, this is a Jaguar inside!”).

    Ivan is someone I enjoy working with very much. So much so that when he decided it is time to leave Reva, I persuaded him to talk to my neighbor Beth, who at the time was HR manager at SupplyScape. He joined SupplyScape.

    Ivan loves his family and daughter very much. Every single mention or inquiry about his daughter Martina will bring out big smile on his face and huge spark in his eyes. And he would use every opportunity to tell me about the progress Martina made, or fun moments he and Martina shared.

    Ivan will be missed. May he rest in peace.

  13. Ivan and I were classmate in middle and high schools. As he moved on, he left so many memorable stories to us to talk about. We all miss him. But he will live in our heart and will be always remembered.

  14. Indeed it is very sad to learn of Ivan’s passing. We worked at OAT together and he was an exemplary and hard-working colleague with a twist of sense of humor. Farewell to an honorable man.

  15. I worked with Ivan at PictureTel/Polycom. It is funny, first thing I thought about was his sense of humor as being very different and colorful!Also though a bright engineer… God Bless him…

  16. 作为幼时的玩伴,他的离开,让我很伤心,思绪万千,尽是儿时的一幕一幕。
    He was smart, knowledgeable, and a very nice person. God bless him….

  17. his wit and smarts from the high school is still vivid in my mind. i wish that i could have been at the funeral to say good-bye. he will be greatly missed…

  18. I am saddened by Yifan’s passing. My heart goes to Yifan’s lovely daughter Martina and his family. I last saw Yifan a year ago in Boston with Martina and Haiying. We had a cheerful lunch togehter and chatted about personalized medicine. Yifan was happy and very healthy. He was so caring with Martina. He will be greatly missed.

  19. Ivan was a gem! I have fond and vivid memories of working with him. During breaks we talked often about tennis and other sports. What sad news this is. Dirk, thank you for sharing and providing the links. Brenda.

  20. My dear brother,

    I miss you so much!



  21. I met Ivan a few years ago in Tokyo and I was sorriest to know yesterday that he was called to be in company with the Lord last year.

    I miss him so much but I am sure Christmas is both in the Heaven and on Earth, Yiqing.

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