Sooja Cho Nehrlich entered peacefully into rest in Walnut Creek, California on September 24, 2021. She was 79 years old.
Born February 12, 1942 in Seoul, Korea to parents Kyung Na and Sung Cho, Sooja received a B.S. in Pharmacy from Ewha Woman’s University, a M.S. in Biochemistry from Michigan State University, and a M.Ed. from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She went on to work as a Biochemistry researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
After she had children, Sooja worked as a stay-at-home mother, driver of countless activities (violin lessons, ice skating lessons and competitions, tennis lessons, youth symphony practices), and PTA President. She was a force of nature, always making sure her kids were taken care of by their schools. Once her children reached middle and high school, she went back to work as teacher for 11 years, primarily at Wheaton Warrenville South High School, where she was a proud sponsor of the National Honor Society and enjoyed supporting students in their college applications.
Sooja retired to Whidbey Island for 15 years, and enjoyed traveling, birdwatching, hiking, playing bridge, sewing, cooking and baking, her kids and grandkids, and having a wide network of friends from all parts of her life come visit her there. In 2018, she moved to Walnut Creek to be closer to her grandchildren.
Sooja is survived by her beloved husband of 50 years (January 9, 1971), Wayne Ray Nehrlich; children Eric Nehrlich (age 47) and Sonia Weiss (age 44); grandchildren Abigail (11) and Zachary (7) Weiss, Boris (2) and Maya (6 months) Nehrlich; sister Minza Cho; and many other loving family members and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents Sung Ho Cho and Kyung Won Na.
In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial donations be made in Sooja’s name to NPR and the National Parks Foundation.