John Hyun Soo Yoo, M.D. 76, of Gladwyne passed away at home on August 23, 2012, from complications arising from cancer. Dr. Yoo was a resident of the Philadelphia area after emigrating from South Korea with his wife, Sook Hee Yoo, M.D. in 1967. He and his wife chose Philadelphia because of their life-long love of classical music. It was their dream to see Eugene Ormandy conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra; their dream came true many times. They were long-time subscribers to the Orchestra and the Philadelphia Opera Company, and often attended other concerts and performances by city ensembles.
Dr. Yoo and his wife also shared in common a devotion to caring for the mentally ill. They were both graduates of Korea University in Seoul, South Korea, and of the Korea University Medical School, where they met more than 50 years ago. After arriving in the United States, Dr. Yoo entered the field of psychiatry and practiced for the last thirty years at Creative Health Services, which in 2010 named its Pottstown building after him. He specialized in the treatment of mental illness and drug addiction of young adults, for which he was recognized in 2007 with the Mental Health Recognition Award from the Montgomery County Mental Health Committee. His wife, who practices at the Albert Einstein Health System, Belmont Behavioral Health in Philadelphia, specializes in geriatric psychiatry. Both parents also shared a devotion to their children, John and Chris. They chose to move to Gladwyne and Lower Merion Township because of its excellent schools, and sent their children to Gladwyne Elementary School and the Episcopal Academy.
Though a newcomer to America's pastimes, Dr. Yoo joined his children in the highs and lows of becoming Philadelphia sports fans. He taught his children how to pitch, catch, and hit, how to pass and shoot, and how to throw. He coached his young sons in the Gladwyne soccer leagues. Yet Dr. Yoo was resigned to the fact that his children would not become Phillies, Eagles, 76ers, or Flyers and were likely to become a lawyer or a doctor - which they did. His son John is a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley and was an official in the Justice Department under the administration of George W. Bush. His son Christopher, Ph.D is the CEO of Yoo and Company, a genomic medicine advisory firm in Scottsdale, AZ.
As a former engineering student, Dr. Yoo took a great interest in all things mechanical. He was endlessly disassembling stereos and televisions, took pride in personally maintaining his house and cars (until the advent of computerized auto parts), and collected a vast store of tools. Though raised in the big city, he enjoyed weekends on a farm in Morgantown, where he sometimes raised sheep, caught fish, and explored Amish cooking. Dr. Yoo is survived by his wife of 47 years, Sook Hee Lee Yoo, his two sons John of Berkeley, CA and Christopher of Scottsdale, AZ, and two grandchildren, Analise and Christopher. He was the eldest son of Yi Sung Yoo and Yung Ja Kang and was ever close to his brothers and sisters: Helen Yun of Athens, GA; Charles Yoo of Los Angeles, CA; Iris Kim of Honolulu, HI; and Jusil Park of Los Angeles, CA.
If you wish to make an online donation to Dr. Yoo's memorial in support of cancer research, please click here.