Born: February 8, 1913 in Yan-Kou, Hunan, China
Homegoing: January 28, 2005 from Jacksonville, Florida
From daughter, Dominie: Dad quoted these verses of scripture to our family before being taken to the operating room for open heart surgery in 1996. He kissed each of us on the hand and said goodbye, just in case… Now, during his recent homegoing experience where he could not speak at all, these words are a great comfort as we recall Dad’s life of faith—
"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." John 14: 1-3
Since Jesus Came Into My Heart
Dad told me this was the most important speech he would ever make. - Dominie, daughter
John Soo’s Address to the Chinese Club of Clay County
Today is November 20, 2004. The Chinese Club of Clay County is having its second meeting at Asia Buffet, Orange Park following its successful first meeting two months ago on September 18. I’m honored to speak at this second meeting.
Friends, my name is John Yun-Chun Soo; I was born in Hunan, mainland of China in 1913, came to the United States of America in 1944 as a Chinese Air Force engineer, and became an American citizen in 1956. I established my home in America with my wife Clara. We have one daughter, one son; and one grandson & one granddaughter.
Today America is the world’s only super power; China is on the way to become a super power. We are proud of our Chinese heritage, and proud to be citizens of the United States of America. We are living in a history making age.... Internationally, America is fighting a war against terror which has never been fought before. America is bringing freedom to the people in Afghanistan and Iraq which have been under dictatorship through all generations. Domestically, our nation is defending against same sex marriage which was so ridiculous and even shameful to mention in the past. Our nation is searching the true meaning of family value in our constitution which our fore fathers thought the meaning was so apparent and clear without the need of elaboration.
As individuals, we are challenged to keep what is best of the Chinese culture and adopt what is best of the American culture. My mother worshipped Buddha and other gods. She fasted every first and fifteenth day of the month. I followed her steps as a child. She was sick often. I prayed to god to take five years of my life to add to her life. Notwith-standing, she died early when I was fifteen. Today I am a born again Christian. I am grateful to my mother for my physical life, and happy in Jesus for the future eternal life.
America is still the best country to live in. Let us always hold what is right and true and reject courageously what is wrong and false. Let Mutual Edifying be the motto of this Club! Let us all be Contributors to our great nation. Thank you. And God bless you!
I cannot imagine the world without the gentle, benevolent presence of my loving father, but yet it has happened. I miss him more than words can express. My father was a brilliant man, yet humble, selfless, and Christlike. Dad always looked and acted 20 years younger than he was.
DAD LIVED HIS LIFE FOR OTHERS
3 Saturdays ago, Donnie and I went to visit my parents. Neither of them were feeling well, so I vacuumed their house. The last words I recall my father saying to me were, “I THINK BY MONDAY, I WILL BE ABLE TO HELP OTHERS.” Tuesday morning he had the massive stroke.
I AM KNOWN AS DAD'S "FAITHFUL DOMINIE"
When I was 7 years old, I was helping my dad put up storm windows on the apartment building where we lived in Newark, NJ. Dad would get up on the roof and send down two ropes and I would hook the storm windows to the ropes and he would pull them up to the right window. My friends were playing on the sidewalk so I went to join them. I said, “Dad, if you need me, just call your faithful Dominie.” That is something my father never forgot. In fact, when I became an adult, he gave me a Bible with this inscription, “TO OUR ONLY FAITHFUL DAUGHTER, DOMINIE.” I said, “Dad, it sounds like you had other daughters, but I was the only faithful one.” We laughed about that.
DAD WAS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE FUTURE
He believed in the younger generation and loved children and young people. He was a major supporter of Liberty University in Virginia. He believed in Christian education.
Dad loved new technology. In the early 1990’s before the internet became popular, Dad said he wanted to get on the INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY. I wasn’t even sure what that was. Dad got internet and soon became my almost daily email correspondent. I treasure those emails, because as Dad‘s hearing deteriorated, they were the best way for us to communicate.
One of Dad’s mottos was, “Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.” When he was 89, Dad bought a 25 year warranty on their new carpet.
Dad bought the family web cams for Christmas a few years ago so we could communicate with each other and with our relatives in China.
DAD LIKED BOW TIES
My aunt used to make them for him, then I took over when she became unable. When Dad was hospitalized in December with congestive heart failure, I brought him a light blue bow tie and said it would match his hospital gown. This brought a big smile to his face.
MY FATHER’S SMILE
No one could light up a room faster than my father. He beamed his happiness and radiant spirit toward others. One Father’s Day many years ago here at Neptune, the pastor asked all of the fathers to please stand. About 50 miserable looking men rose to their feet. I looked at Dad‘s face. He was beaming from ear to ear and looking around the room at all the other lucky men who got to be fathers too.
I WANT TO THANK DAD FOR
His love and patience in raising his daughter. When I was 7, Dad was working full time and going to school full time in engineering in a foreign language, English. He was very tired and fell asleep in the living room chair. I don’t know what possessed me, but I got out all of my colorful plastic barrettes and gave Dad a new hairdo while he slept.
Dad made me feel special. He rejoiced in my achievements. Dad took me to piano lessons when I was in my early teens. He sent me to college and later Bible college. In his 80’s and 90’s, he and my mother have regularly attended my student’s piano recitals. Their supportive presence has meant so much to me and my students.
DAD WAS A GREAT COOK
He loved to cook Chinese meals for his family--usually 6-8 dishes. We enjoyed many of the feasts he made. I don’t have the cooking gene, however. A few months ago, Dad said to me, “I can’t believe I’m 91 and still cooking for you!” I said, “Dad, it could be worse! I could be cooking for YOU!”
DAD TOOK THE GOSPEL TO CHINA
Dad was separated from his family in China for 30 years due to the war and resulting communist control. He was able to go back in 1977 with my mother. They went back 4 times after that to visit Dad’s family. They took Bibles and Christian literature, and many of our relatives are now are believers in Christ. I continue Dad’s work of distributing the Chinese Christian Mission magazine to the Chinese in our area.
LOVE OF COUNTRY
Dad became a U.S. citizen in 1956 when I was 5 years old. I remember the day distinctly and the pride my father felt. He put out the American flag on every major holiday.
When he was 87, Dad placed 100 signs for George Bush. 4 years later, at 91, Dad took a shift waving a sign for George Bush on a street corner in Jacksonville Beach the weekend before the presidential election.
One of the last things Dad saw with his eyes at the hospital was the inauguration invitation that had arrived in the mail. How he would have loved to attend! Dad believed in liberty. He believed in what we were doing to help future generations around the world to have a safer and better life.
It grieved my father to see the way America had become--decadent and impure--not the country he had fallen in love with in the 1940’s.
Dad couldn’t sing a note, but one year after a Christmas service, he told us that he had memorized all the words to O HOLY NIGHT. I playfully challenged Dad to recite them, and he did--not only word for word, but with so much feeling and expression that we all had tears in our eyes. That was the TRUE meaning of Christmas.
Dad tithed and supported his local church generously and also many missionaries around the world. He also sent money to his family in China regularly.
Dad is known for his love of trees. Last year at age 90 he helped a friend pick grapefruit. His friend was picking the lower branches and Dad was on a ladder, picking fruit from the higher branches. When his friend looked up to see how he was doing, he was surprised that Dad was not on the ladder! He had gone up into the tree to get the fruit at the top.
Dad planted many trees on his property 32 years ago. Two of them almost killed him last month. First, a large branch fell where he had just been standing. Then, on Christmas Eve, my brother and his son were helping Dad take down a 40 foot pine tree that was damaged in the hurricane. The tree suddenly snapped back in an unexpected way and was falling right where my dad was standing. Grandson John (17) saw it and tackled Dad out of the way just as the tree fell.
REGARDING DAD’S CHRISTIAN FAITH
In the 1940’s my Dad was in a library in Muskegon, MI. He heard that America was a Christian country, so he was reading books to learn more. A lady walked up to him and invited him to church, where he was born again on an Easter Sunday. He met my mother at a Bible study.
Jesus told this parable: "A sower went out to sow….some seed fell on stony ground, some on thorny ground, some on hard ground. But some seed fell on good ground and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold."
Luke 8:15--“BUT THE SEED ON THE GOOD GROUND ARE THEY, WHICH IN AN HONEST AND GOOD HEART, HAVING HEARD THE WORD, KEEP IT, AND BRING FORTH FRUIT WITH PATIENCE.”
My father’s heart was good soil for the seed of the Word, and it has multiplied a hundred fold. My father has now gone on to his reward, leaving behind a legacy of a life beautifully lived for Christ and others.
I AM PROUD TO BE HIS DAUGHTER AND WILL ALWAYS MISS HIM. I LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING HIM AGAIN IN GLORY.
Sweet Beulah Land
My brother, Dan Soo, and my husband, Don Bush, gave eulogies honoring my father. My brother recalled many wonderful times we had with my father when we were children, and also my father's brilliant mind. My husband said that anyone who knew my dad knew what Christ was like. He said that when God lit the flame of salvation in my father's life, it never dimmed or went out. He was faithful to the end. He said that Dad's faith was now sight, as he beheld the face of Christ. Pastor Tom Bary delivered the funeral message.
The final days
My brother's Chinese name means "First Shadow." In observing my brother's devotion to my father during the last month of his life, I must agree that he is indeed the shadow of his father. A more loyal son does not exist! Dan came from Colorado and stayed at Dad's bedside around the clock during the last torturous weeks of his life, trying to alleviate his suffering in every way he could. Dan's wife and teenage children also spent many days at Dad's bedside with love and compassion. My cousin and his wife drove 20 hours from Michigan to be with us during what turned out to be Dad's last week on earth. Mom and I were also at the hospital daily. We all felt so helpless as we watched my beautiful father dying. If Dad had lived 11 more days, he would have been 92.
Scriptures chosen by my mother
"Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 1: 21)
"For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself. And mine eyes shall behold, and not another: though my reins be consumed within me." (Job 18: 25-27)
"For I am not ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." (II Timothy 4: 6-8)
"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." (Psalm 116:15)
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