Mrs. Sung Bok (Lee) Hsu, of Columbus, Ohio, passed, on Tuesday, August 16, surrounded by her loving family. Mrs. Hsu founded HSU & Co. Natural Foods in 1977, devoting herself to help others improve their health and well-being.
In the years 2005 and 2006 she was a major donor to UTS and was inducted as a member of the UTS Founders’ Society. She attended the UTS gala evening at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Westchester on April 21, 2006 with other key donors and supporters. This was reported in the June 2006 edition of the Cornerstone* (see below).
Following is an obituary for Mrs. Hsu from her family.
Mrs. Sung Bok Bok (Lee) Hsu, 85, ascended peacefully, surrounded by her family on Tuesday, August 16, 2016 in Columbus, OH. Mrs. Hsu was born on October 9, 1930 in Asan, Korea to Chung Koo Lee and Bok Soon Yang. Mrs. Hsu is preceded in death by her parents and six brothers and sisters.
She is survived by her children, Grace (Shinichi) Sasaki, Annie (Scott) Griffin, Ken (Song Song) Hsu; grandchildren, Mika, Nathaniel, Juli, Lina, Matthew, Jessica, Kevin, Jack and Rachel; and sister, Ho Bok Lee.
Mrs. Hsu founded HSU & Co. Natural Foods in 1977 before her retirement to the country. She leaves behind a legacy of wellness and good health.
Mrs. Hsu is known not only as a successful business woman, but very much as a person of faith and heart. In speaking of her childhood she would often remark how much she loved and respected her father who was widely known and well respected in the region. A generous man who cared for others and tutored village children in his “so dang” or book house, equivalent to a library. As the seventh child in the family she got to spend a great deal of time with him as he was already retired. How much she cried when totally unexpectedly he passed away while she was in second grade. Before her passing she remarked how much she is longing to be reunited with her father and mother and siblings in the spirit world.
Her long and at times arduous journey towards becoming this great person of faith took a decisive turn in the late 1950’s when her younger sister urged her to listen to the passionate sermons of a young man preaching in a rather small, nondescript house in Seoul. The sign next to the entrance read “Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity”, indicating that its occupants had a vision far beyond the boundaries of the then still desperately poor nation of South Korea.
After attending many prayer and teaching sessions, Sung Bok Lee began to follow and accept the teachings of this young preacher who later would be known around the world as the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.
She stayed the course to completing her college studies graduating with high honors. She then received an offer to continue her studies toward a master’s degree in library science from what is now the University of Portland in Oregon, U.S.A. It was at that time that she met a young Chinese gentleman named Mr. John Hsu, giving birth to two daughters, Grace and Annie.
Mr. John Hsu was then hired by Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio to pioneer automation of library registrations with the dawning age of the computer. Meanwhile, Mrs. Hsu was accepted to Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio for their master’s program in library science. Over the course of five years, she would complete her second master’s degree. Within that time frame, she gave birth to her son Kenny (the only true Buckeye in her family) and had an opportunity to work at Cleveland State handling foreign languages in the library. Mr. John Hsu was very successful and later would receive an offer to work in information science at The Ohio State University.
Settling in Columbus, Mrs. Hsu stayed busy with raising her children and attending the duties as a homemaker. As the children grew and entered school life, she began to explore ways of productively filling up some of her time during the days. She found that Lutheran Theological University near Bexley, Ohio needed a part time worker in the library cataloging books. It fit her needs well for four and a half years.
Ask people of faith and they will tell you that God has ways of initiating change for a higher purpose if the person is willing to take the leap. While visiting the Ohio State Fair with her children, she would have a chance encounter with a young man at the state fair selling packets of Korean ginseng. Ginseng from Korea! The astonishment triggered early memories of her mother making wine from leaves, rice, and pine leaves for her father as well as vague remembrances of her mother making ginseng drinks for her father as well. Most of all, she recollected the words by Sun Myung Moon emphasizing the preciousness and value of Korean ginseng as a physical messiah for people’s well-being. With some funds she had, she bought two boxes of the ginseng packets from the young Unification Church members and took them to visit the only two Korean markets in Columbus, Ohio. She encouraged the store owners to carry the product as a staple item in their stores. Initial success encouraged her to propagate the benefits of Korean ginseng as a means to helping people’s health and she purchased more product. She quit her part time job at the seminary and mustered the courage to begin to sell ginseng door to door. Making money was not her intent. She relished being the bridge for the product from her country to bring better health to others. It became her aspiration and awakened her to a calling that would endure.
Today, HSU & CO. HEALTH FOODS includes three thriving retail stores and a phone/internet order department. Of course, Mrs. Hsu could tell you a great deal about the endless hours of studies and hard work required of her to turn her aspirations into a tangible success.
If she were here now to sum up her life, she would speak for a long time about her pride in her children and their families and the binder of testimonials of the many people she helped find better health. And she would tell us that the love she received from her parents, especially her father and her Heavenly Parent and True Parents made it all possible.
Thank you Mrs. Hsu for all you have done.
*The Second Annual Founders’ Society Evening, June 2006
by Robin Graham, Director of Alumni Relations and Development
The Second Annual Founders’ Society Evening was held in Tarrytown on April 21st. Two new members were inducted this year. Mrs. Sung Bok Hsu, President of Hsu and Co., Columbus, OH, and Dr. Bong Tae Kim, President of Sun Moon University, Korea. Mr. Hyung Chul Kim, a current UTS student, received the award on behalf of his father, Dr. Kim.
Dr. Andrew Wilson, one of the seven inaugural members inducted in 2005, introduced the society's new members. The Founders’ Society Life Member Awards were then presented by Dr. Michael Jenkins on behalf of the UTS Board of Trustees. The Founders’ Society members are core UTS friends and supporters. They are dedicated people who have provided significant gifts to UTS. In the midst of a busy weekend, 19 alumni and friends of UTS shared a relaxed evening of conversation. Special guests included Dr. Chang Shik Yang, Continental Director of the Family Federation in North America, and UTS Trustee. He shared his love of UTS and his confidence and commitment to the future of UTS. Dr. Yang recently committed $30,000 for the renovations of the UTS Dining Room, to be carried out over the summer.
After a delicious main course, Dr. Hendricks presented the vision for UTS and its fundraising campaign, Project Excellence. He outlined the immediate and long term capital improvements necessary to prepare UTS for the next generation of students. The renovation of the dining room, the heart of the seminary, by this September is a strategic investment for the future. Dr. Jenkins embraced everyone in the room with his warm words, expressing his confidence that those gathered are partners and friends and that together we can develop a strong and vibrant seminary for our next generation. He made a special mention of the momentum which is building with the Young Oon Kim Scholarship Program and the outreach to the second generation. Dr. Jenkins spoke of the camaraderie built with old friends, the joy of meeting new friends, and the gratitude for renewing friendship; friendship is absolutely necessary to build our common future. Over $21,000 was raised that evening, all of which was eligible for a matching grant by the Young Jin Moon Foundation, effectively making the amount raised over $42,000.
(The evening at Ruth’s Chris was paid for through a gift from the Kearney family. Steve Kearney graduated UTS in 1984).