July 16, 2019
Arthur C.S. Choo
Arthur C.S. Choo passed away in Quincy of natural causes on July 16, 2019, at age 91 3/4. He was born on October 19, 1927 in the British Colony of Singapore. He grew up impoverished. As an 11 year old boy he worked as a doorman at a hotel. A business man once told him that a young boy like that should not be working, and promised to one day send him to America. He was 15 when the Japanese invaded Singapore. His only choice was to allow his family to be persecuted and used as practice dummies in training drills, or to enlist in the Invading army. He chose to enlist to protect his family. As an occupied country the food supply was controlled. Acting in his capacity as a soldier, he assisted in the smuggling of food into the country. In 1948, he found the business man that had promised him passage to America and the businessman agreed to pay for Arthur’s passage on a freighter, but only if he exported American toys back to Singapore for his resale.
In 1948, he immigrated to San Diego with $100, to earn money to support his family in Singapore. He wasn’t qualified to be a dishwasher so he started as a pot washer, but was determined to make a better life. While working multiple jobs, he earned a BS in Civil Engineering from Oregon State University. It was there he met a graduate student and his future wife Setsuko Tamashiro. He moved to the east coast where Arthur earned a MS in Civil Engineering from Yale University, and asked Ms. Tamashiro to quit her teaching job in Hawaii to marry him. They then moved to Cambridge so he could attend the MBA program at Harvard University. While working on his Doctorate Research Fellow Business Administration from Harvard University, he worked for several premier engineering firms including Linenthal & Becker and Le Messurier. He worked on many of the Boston Landmarks of the time including the State Street Bank Building on Franklin St., Boston City Hall, The Prudential Tower, the JFK Building and the Carpenters’ Center at Harvard. Just after having his 2 sons, he started his own engineering firm in Boston his own structural engineering consulting firm in 1966 rather than complete his PhD. He specialized in Hospital design. He worked on projects such as Whidden, Frisbee, Emerson, Leonard Morse, Exeter, and Jordan hospitals. In later years, his practice specialized in rehabilitation, repair and reconstruction of existing buildings.
He served as former director of many organizations including the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, Tai Tong, Inc., Chinese Community Urban Renewal Committee, and the Chinese Evangelical Church. He also served as the former Member and Chairman of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Designers Selection Board.
His favorite volunteer work was as a Board Member for the South Cove YMCA and the Director Boston Evening Medical Clinic, then a member of the Boston Evening Medical Center Foundation.
His work was his passion and he continued working until his most recent hospitalization just before his passing. His favorite things later in life were working, going to every job, and the many weekends he spent with his son Victor.
Arthur is pre-deceased by his wife, Setsuko, his sister, Peggy and her Husband James Lee. He is survived by his son Arthur Choo and his wife Theresa, and grandchildren Stephanie, Victoria, and Arthur III (AJ), his son Victor Choo and his wife Carrie Kindler. He has a nephew Stephen Lee and Niece Cynthia Lee and a large extended family in Singapore. He was assisted for many years by his aide Xueling “Linda” Deng.
Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend the visiting hours on Tuesday, July 23rd 4-8 PM in the Keohane Funeral Home, 785 Hancock St., QUINCY. A celebration of life service will be held on Wednesday, July 24th at 9 AM in the Keohane Funeral Home prior to the funeral service which will be conducted on Wednesday, July 24th at 10 AM in United First Parish Church, at 10 AM. Burial in Forest Hills Cemetery, 95 Forest Hills Ave, Boston, MA. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Arthur may be made to one’s choice.