Honoring PASSi Founder Im Ja Choi


In Loving Memory of PASSi Founder Im Ja P. Choi

On behalf of Penn Asian Senior Services (PASSi) and our Board of Directors, it is with profound sadness and a great sense of loss that I have to share about Ms. Im Ja P. Choi’s life and many achievements in the past tense. PASSi’s Founder and CEO Emeritus passed away early yesterday morning.

Ms. Choi had been battling cancer for the past few years – as you may imagine, Im Ja took the fight to the disease with the grit and determination that was characteristic of everything she did. And though she has been taken from us all too soon, Im Ja’s legacy lives on in countless ways.

Though it is with heavy hearts, please join me in honoring Ms. Choi’s legacy and celebrating her pioneering life. This is a tribute to a fierce visionary, who by sheer force of will created a legacy of caring.

Ms. Choi’s vision started in response to one person and an acutely felt need – in 2002, Im Ja’s mother was discharged from the hospital following surgery. Im Ja knew that her mother needed care at home that was attuned to her language and culture, but there were no homecare agencies that could provide it. Im Ja set aside her professional career in order to become her mother’s caregiver. But with resourcefulness and intellect, Ms. Choi realized there were many diverse families facing similar caregiving challenges in the Greater Philadelphia area. In response to that community need, Ms. Choi started planning for a nonprofit senior services agency tailored to serve Asian and other diverse seniors in their respective languages and cultural backgrounds.

In 2004, Ms. Choi founded the nonprofit organization that would soon become PASSi. Starting from a small, donated office, Im Ja would go on to transform the homecare industry, creating the largest provider of linguistically-attuned senior services for Asian and other limited English proficient older adults in Southeastern Pennsylvania. And it is only through Im Ja’s unwavering vision, commitment, and passion that PASSi has grown to become the organization we are today.

But PASSi’s founding story also reminds me that Im Ja’s visionary leadership was matched by care, kindness and a heart for loved ones and her community. Ms. Choi’s legacy of caring, and PASSi, started with Im Ja’s providing care for her mother. And through PASSi and countless individual relationships, Im Ja made a positive impact on thousands of lives.

A couple of years ago, in the depths of the pandemic, PASSi’s adult day center closed indefinitely due to stay at home orders. Our senior clients could not come out to PASSi for their daily programming and nutritious meals, and they longed to return. Learning of our seniors’ plight, Ms. Choi was moved to tears. And then she took action – Im Ja single-handedly called each of our clients, providing a comforting voice and sharing that PASSi continued to care deeply about each individual. And although our Jubilee Center would not be able to reopen for some time still, Ms. Choi started a first-of-its-kind Asian meal delivery program – as she put it, if our senior clients could not come to Jubilee Center for their freshly-prepared meal, PASSi would bring it to them.

That was Ms. Choi – a visionary leader, but always driven by compassion for our clients and our community. And Ms. Choi brought that culture of caring into every aspect of PASSi, providing support for the PASSi team through challenging times and championing the needs of PASSi caregivers.

And perhaps what I will cherish most is that Ms. Choi was my mentor. She was a gentle guide who showed me the ropes with understated words and actions that spoke louder than words.

Though Ms. Choi is gone, her spirit and legacy reverberate through our halls – the mission and sense of purpose that she put into action at PASSi continues, and we continue to do our best to make her proud each day.

My voice is but one of thousands that say, thank you for caring, Ms. Choi. You will always be missed but never forgotten.


Ken Yang Signature

Ken Yang, Esq.